Cosmic Crisis: The Disruption of God's Established Order

Scripture: Colossians 1:16-17, Ezekiel 28:14-17, Isaiah 14:13-14
Date: 10/11/2008 
Lesson: 2
We need an atonement because of the existence of sin. This study explores the origin of sin.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are joining us, wherever you're joining us from this morning from across the country and around the world, welcome and Happy Sabbath. We'd like to, of course, welcome those of you who are listening on the radio this morning, watching live on the internet, or watching on various television networks. Thank you so much for tuning in and singing along with us this morning. I know that it means a lot to those of you who-- this is your church.

This is your Sabbath school family. And we are just glad that we can sing some of your favorites this morning. The first one we'll find on 517 in your hymnals. Pull out your hymnals those of you here and those of you at home, 517. We're gonna sing, "my faith looks up to thee.

" This is a request from dora in belgium, chandell in antigua and barbuda, letiana in vanuatu, sharon in trinidad and tobago, esta in New York and kanna in jamaica. , We will sing all 3 verses. [Music] I hope that's your desire today that you will never stray from Jesus' side. He is your best friend, and he loves you. If you have a favorite request that you would like to send in, listen carefully.

It's not too early to send in your favorite Christmas songs, okay, 'cause I really like singing those and so the more that come in the better. So if you have a Christmas request or any other song in the hymnal, you can go to our website at, click on the "contact us" link. And you will see how you can send those in. Our next song this morning is 506, "a mighty fortress," , and this is a favorite. It is from teresa all the way in rome, italy, Ezekiel in england, bliss in miramar, sharon and tracy in trinidad and tobago, johanas and terita in saudi arabia, alva in guyana, deon in granada, shidy in gambia, carmen and cecilia in australia, ian in barbados, krisley in malaysia, jason in st.

Vincent and the grenadines, glen in new zealand, dolcie in jamaica, stephen in South Dakota, daphney in florida, dwight in samanga in New Jersey, raulie in California and jim and diane in florida. , 1, 2, And 4. [Music] Let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, we thank you so much that your kingdom is forever. And it's been from the beginning of time, and it will last forever.

And we thank you so much for the assurance that we have through you, that one day we will be able to be a part of your kingdom. We are your children, and you are our Heavenly Father. We pray that one day we will each meet together on the sea of glass, those who aren't here with us this morning here at central church but around the world, that we can all get together and sing praises to you. We pray that you'll be with those who are sick, those who need extra special help from you today, that you would just put your arms around them, and they would sense your presence. Be with our speaker this morning as he brings us the lesson study, that we will have open ears and open hearts for what you have to say.

In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our youth pastor here at central church, pastor steve allred. Happy Sabbath. I want to let you know about our free offer this morning. It is offer number 107.

And it is the little Amazing Facts study guide, "did God create the devil?" Have you ever asked that question? Well, this lesson will give you the answer to it. So I invite you to call in. The number is 1-866-788-3966, -866-788-3966 for offer number , "did God create the devil?" Boy, this last week has been a crazy week. Has it not? As we look at our world it-- I don't know. Boy, things are just falling apart out there at least in the financial world.

And I couldn't help but thinking about our lesson study this week as I opened up "time" magazine and read about what's happening on wall street. The article in "time" magazine about the financial crisis that our country, and actually the world, is facing right now is entitled, "the price of greed," the price of greed. It goes on, it talks about how there are many factors that have contributed to what we see today. And of course one of those is that there were a lot of people out there like us, hopefully not like us, but regular people that lied about their income and got mortgages they shouldn't have gotten and defaulted or whatever happened later on, right? So that's part of it the article was saying. Of course, the people who wrote those mortgages or who gave the money out were to blame as well.

It talked about how as the different--as they were betting, I guess you could say, on whether or not they could make more money, they began to bet irresponsibly we could say. And so we see irresponsible lending practices. And a lot of that, according to this article, was fueled by greed, very interesting. And so as I read the article, I thought, wow, I don't understand all the ins and outs, but I do understand we're in a big mess. And we can all see that.

It led me to think about what we are talking about here today in our lesson. Wow. Ezekiel 28, we're talking about, "the origin of evil." Now it's interesting because just like we see today in the financial Markets here in our country and in the world, you know, who would have thought months ago that we would be in this crisis today? In fact, people who are very highly esteemed economists didn't necessarily think it would get this bad, did they? There were a few out there who said, "yeah, there's something coming." But most didn't think it was gonna get this bad. And I kind of think it must have been like this back there in heaven a few millennia ago when suddenly something bubbled to the surface that had been brewing for a long time, something that had been formulating in the heart of one of the angels. In fact, one that no one had ever thought would be the one who would do something like this.

He was the angel that stood right next to God himself, the guardian of the throne, the secret service agent if you will who stood in the very presence of the King of the universe. But it happens. The greatest crisis of all time began with this angel that was known as lucifer and has since the reverberations from that one angel's choices have since affected all of the universe and especially this little planet that we live on here today in each one of us. Ezekiel 28, let's look at the story back there in the old testament book of Ezekiel. It gives us a little history, a little background of this story.

Verse 14, the Bible says, "you were the anointed cherub who covers; and I placed you there; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire." "The anointed cherub." You know the cherubim; they were a special class of angels. And they are still. And of course the cherubim were again the ones that stood in the very presence of God. In the earthly sanctuary, Moses was told to make two of these angels to overlook the mercy seats, again signifying that they were the ones who stood there in God's presence. And so lucifer was one of these.

Verse 15, "you were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you. By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; therefore," God says, "I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God; and I have destroyed you, o covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I put you before Kings, that they may see you." And so the lesson asked, "what was lucifer like before he fell?" Did God create a devil? Did God create someone that he knew would set off this incredible crisis in the universe that each one of us, again, is feeling the affects of today we are participating in? No, in fact, according to verse 12, it says, he was what? "The model of perfection." He was perfect. He was a cherubim. He was beautiful.

Verse 13, "every precious stone adorned you." Verse 14, again, "a cherub who guarded the throne." Verse 14, again, it says, "he walked among the fiery stones." Very interesting. I'm not sure if I understand exactly what that means, but I think it means that he was very close to God, very intimate with God. Verse 15, again, "he was blameless." That word also means complete, someone who has no defects. Nothing is missing. He is--he was a perfect being.

And of course verse 17 says not only was he perfect in his character, but he was beautiful in his being and full of splendor. And so how did lucifer go from being like that to becoming the devil? Well, and it actually doesn't really tell us, does it? But it does start out in verse 15, and it says, "you were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until," what? "Inequity," or unrighteousness was what? "Found in you." Somehow it came to be deep there--deep inside of the heart of lucifer inequity came into existence. Can anyone explain it? Is there any rational reason for why this happened? No, I don't think so. But somehow lucifer began to think that he was pretty cool, right? He began to think that he was not only better looking and more talented and smarter and more intelligent, but he was just better overall. And so it says in verse 17, what does it say? "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty.

" You became what? Proud. We're gonna go to Isaiah in just a minute and find out that that's exactly what happens. Ellen white says this; she says, "little by little, satan came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation," little by little. How sad, isn't it? I mean how catastrophically sad, because we again are seeing the effects of those little choices today. And so it's easy to push satan off, lucifer off, into the far reaches of the universe and think about his decisions millennia ago.

But I like what the lesson did. It kind of brought it back around. It said, "how about us?" Have we ever done perhaps what lucifer did? And they ask this question there at the end of Sunday's lesson, they said, "how often has it been that no matter what you had, no matter what we had, how often do we still want more?" Can you identify? How often do we still want more? We're not satisfied with making a few million. And so we say, "let's go out there and risk some more of other people's money," invest it in something that's really risky. And why? Because we're greedy.

We want more, right? That's part of the problem with humanity. Wouldn't you agree? And so they asked the question: how often--who's character are we manifesting when this is the case? And why is that so opposite the character of Christ? And I thought, you know, it's interesting, because Jesus is not--Jesus is the exact antithesis of greed. Isn't he? He is the epitome of selflessness, right? He is the one who as we look at him, we see a God who-- and we could talk about that-- who came to this earth and didn't think about himself. Philippians 2 says, "he made himself of no reputation, took upon himself the form of a servant." Wow. I mean just think about that.

And so here is Jesus. We want to reflect his character, not the character of this other one that we've been reading about. Let's go to Isaiah 14. And somewhere out here we have someone with a microphone who is going to read for us Isaiah 14. And let's see here, Isaiah 14.

And we are going to go to the story of lucifer here in verses 13 and 14. Now who has that verse? Right over here, okay. Isaiah 14:13-14. "For thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend into heaven, the stars of God: I will sit there also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high." Thank you. How would you describe what--how would you kind of go back behind with these words say and try to figure out what lucifer's motives were? Does--do his actions kind of give us a clue to what his motives might have been? What do you think they were? You can speak up.

What do you think his motives were? Selfishness, okay. And what did he want? What did he want according to these verses? What was he looking for? To be like God, to be above God. Now how many of you want to be like God? Come on now, we want to be like God, don't we? Well, but not in the same sense, right? We say that, don't we? We should be like Jesus. But we don't mean it in the same way that lucifer meant it. How did he mean it? He wanted to be like God in the sense that--he wanted God's power, his throne, his position.

In fact, he wanted people, instead of worshipping God to worship him. And I think really as I look at this, and there are so many facets to this, but I think, you know, the crux of the matter is that he wanted the worship, the adoration, the praise that God was getting. He was like, "man, that's pretty cool. I think that's neat. I'm standing up here next to the throne and all these angels bowing down, singing.

I'd like that. I'd like to switch places here with God. And so the Bible says, look what it says. Verse--let's read it again. "He said in his heart, 'I'm gonna get that spot on the throne.

I'm gonna raise my throne above the stars of God,'" the angels. "And I am going to sit in the mount of the assembly, in the sides of the north," that's where God's throne is. "I will make myself like the most high." What's that? Yeah. He wanted his own throne. So it's interesting because here we see this motive of wanting to be exalted above his current position.

He wasn't satisfied with what God had done, what God had given him. He wanted something more. And so he decided that's what he was going to get. And that has been the story of the Great Controversy ever since. Going back to Ezekiel 28 again, the lesson skipped back there.

And it asked us to compare the before and after picture of lucifer and then, you know, satan. It said, "let's kind of check out what he was like before and then after." And so in Ezekiel 28:15, it says that he was blameless, right? He was whole. He was lacking nothing. That was before. That's the picture.

Just imagine in your mind what lucifer must have looked like, his countenance. Was he happy? I mean he was created to be like--i mean he was just an incredible creature. He was the type of person you would have wanted to be neighbors with probably. Right? It's kind of hard to imagine that now. But you know, this was a wholesome perfect being.

Then something began to happen. Here was the in-between part. It says in verse 15, "until inequity was found in you." Inequity is defined as "wickedness, duplicity, unholy inhibition, lying, apostasy." There was a lot of deception involved here. We're gonna find out later that Jesus said, "he is The Father of," what? Of lies. He is the one who invented lying.

He is also the first murderer, right? He's the one who introduced death and murder into the universe, right? Interesting. And so then after, the after picture is in verse 17. It says, "your heart was lifted up." This is what happened because of your beauty. "You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor." And he became proud and high, exalted, and thought he was better than everyone else. And the sad thing about pride is that if you've ever been proud, which we all have probably been proud.

In fact, we all have been proud, or if you've known someone who's been proud, it's always easy to find someone that's proud, right? Look around. They're obviously proud, right? If you know someone like that, if you've been like that, one of the problems with pride is that you don't often realize you're proud. And you don't have a very clear perception of reality, right? You think, "man, I'm pretty cool," you know. And you think you're pretty neat because you're comparing yourself to everyone else. But that may not be the actual reality of the situation, right? Sometimes it kind of tweaks our view of reality.

And so I think that's what began to happen with satan. He thought, "man, I am so awesome." And eventually it began to change his mind to the point that he wasn't perceiving things even in a rational way. And the sad thing about a proud heart, if you go to psalm 10:4, is that a proud heart, it makes sense actually, has no room for anybody else. Psalm 10:4. "He became proud of his wisdom," isadora says, that's exactly right.

Psalm 10:4, it says, "the wicked and the haughtiness of his countenance does not seek him," speaking of God. All his thoughts are there is no God. In other words, there's no room in a proud heart for what? Anything other than themselves, including God. And so that's what happened to lucifer: everything God pushed out, except for him. And so going to Genesis now, in Genesis 3, the lesson introduces us to satan as he is shown to us in the Bible next.

So we know about how he was before. We know that there was a war in heaven. We'll talk about that a little bit later. But now we step down to earth where we see him appear to eve in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:4-5.

And they ask this question. So if satan in heaven was The Father of lies, and if he was proud and had no room in his heart for God, and so as a result of this he began to probably tell lies to the angels, probably to spread rumors about God that were not true. In fact, I think that is true, because as we look at Genesis 3, we find that this is exactly what he did when he came to earth. Let's read it, Genesis 3:4-5, and actually let's start in verse 1, "the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, 'indeed, has God said, 'you shall not eat from any tree of the garden?' And the woman said to the serpent, 'from the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'you shall not eat it, or touch it, or you will die.

'" Now here's the interesting part, verse 4, "the serpent said to the woman," you will not die, "you will not surely die, for," what? "God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes are gonna be opened, and you'll be like him. And so he's trying to just keep it from you guys. Don't worry about it because really what's happening here is God just doesn't want you to get something that's really good for you. And he knows that you're gonna like it. And if you do eat this, I mean it's gonna open up a whole new reality to you," which was true, right? But not the kind of reality that he was making it sound to be.

How did the serpent misrepresent God to eve? What did he say? He said, "God wants to keep something good from you." Basically, right? "God has something here and he's trying to hide it from you. Don't believe him. It's not really gonna hurt you. In fact, trust me. He's actually trying to keep something from you that you will like.

In fact, God does not have your best interest at heart. He doesn't really want you to be happy. In fact--" what was being implied by this? "God is selfish." Exactly. And the lesson brought out the point that in a way lucifer was--satan at this point-- was projecting onto God his own what? Who he was, his own character. And he was making God out to be what in fact he himself was.

And do you think satan still does this? I mean this is--I'll tell you what, you know, getting to work with young people, teenagers, I really enjoy it. There are times I get kind of frustrated because this is the lie that satan is trying to pawn off on kids every day. You know, "if you do it God's way, you're not really gonna be happy. You need to try this out. You need to experiment with this.

You need to do this. What your parents are telling you to do isn't really gonna make you happy." This is the lie that satan wants us still to buy today. Let's go to Tuesday, Tuesday's lesson. And as I was looking at Tuesday's lesson, it was interesting because the lesson kind of switched subjects in a way. And it's talking about law and love.

It talks about how God's law is a Revelation of his character. And I began to think about how a judge in our society today who decides a case. As much as they may want to be objective, can't help but allow at least some of their decision to be influenced by their personal values and by their world view, right? I mean to some extent we have to admit that that happens in life. And so we see the laws of our land as they are handed down by courts at least, as being somewhat influenced by people's own perspective and world view. And in the same way, God's law is a Revelation of who he is, of his character, of his world view we could say.

And so God created us to be in harmony with his law, to live within its limits, to experience its freedom. And in Hebrews 8, I think someone out here has that verse. Let's read that. This is God's plan for the human race, because after sin came into the world, that plan got kind of messed up. And so here's what he's done to restore us.

Hebrews 8, and let's read verses 10-11. Hebrews 8:10-11. "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will write my laws in their minds and write them in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." Verse 11, "none of them shall teach their neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'know the Lord,' for they shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them." Thank you. "This is the covenant. I will put my law into their hearts and minds.

" And what's gonna happen as a result of this? They will all--he's like, "no one's gonna need to teach anybody else about me, because they're already going to know me." So if we know God's law, we know him. Right? And that's God's goal is to put his law on our hearts, so that we are restored to harmony with him. Psalms 40:8, David said, "I delight to do your will, o God, yea your law is written," where? "In my heart." And so this is what God wants to do in each one of us. He wants us to have his law in us to the point that it becomes a pleasure, a joy, to be able to just live this law out. But I guess there's always been this deception ever since satan kind of came up with it in heaven that somehow following the law will not make you happy.

In fact, it will make you miserable, right? The idea that real love was all about feeling good and not about sticking to a commitment, I don't think that was necessarily true. In fact, I think there is a connection between law and love. Would you agree? There is a connection between true love and being able to live within some certain perimeters and sticking to commitments. And so we ask the question next, what is love? What is this thing that is supposed to be so free and happy and joyous? What is this? Is it the thing that it was said to be back in the 1960s or what about 1 Corinthians 13. Check this out, Corinthians 13.

I like this definition of love. Verse 4, "love is," what? "Patient. Love is kind, is not jealous. Love does not brag, is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered." And we could go on. Do you like this definition of love? I mean if love is all just about a feeling for myself, you know, ultimately it kind of doesn't lead anywhere except to selfishness.

Isn't that right? But I like this kind of love. Don't you? Not only would I like to be friends with people who have this kind of love, but I think I'd like to have more of it myself. Wouldn't you? And so if we take this as our definition of love, then as we look at God's law in relation to this love, I think it makes more sense. In Matthew 22, the lesson took us to a passage where Jesus talks about the relationship between his law and love. Something that satan had said, "hey, you know what, if you're really gonna be happy, if you really want to experience joy and freedom and living an exciting life, you don't need the law.

" But here's what God had said. Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus said, "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment." The second is like it: "you shall love your neighbor as," what? "Yourself." And then I like this, verse 40, "on these two commandments," what? "Hang," or depend, "all the law and the prophets." In other words, what was God saying here? What was Jesus saying? If something is hanging or being supported by something else, what does that mean? Was he saying that the law, the Ten Commandments, the basis, the foundation for those principles that God has given to us, the basis is unselfish love? You know, and think about this for a minute. This is incredible. This is the exact opposite of what satan had been telling the angels in heaven, the exact opposite of what he's been trying to tell us as human beings ever since.

He says, "you know, if you really want to be happy, if you want to experience love and happiness, the only way to do it is by disregarding that law." But God says, "no, actually if you want to be happy, I've created you and I know you will be the happiest if you live within the barriers of my love, within the standards of my law. And so the whole idea of law is based on love. And in John 3:16, we see where, "God," it says, "so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son." Loving involves giving. In John 14:15 and 21, we find out that Jesus said, "if you love me, you will," what? "You'll keep my commandments." And then going on in verse 21, it says, "those who love me keep my commandments," again. Love involves commitment.

So it involves giving, unselfish giving as God did in John 3:16. It also involves commitment. In 1 John 5:3, I think we should look this one up. John 5:3, one of my favorites when it comes to talking about the relationship between law and love, it says, "for this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are," what? "Not grievous," or burdensome.

I think what it's saying is that when we experience what it means to live this kind of unselfish love and live within the confines of God's law, so to speak, living out his law is not a burdensome thing. It's actually a happy thing. It's something that gives us joy. And we experience what it means to have freedom and happiness found within obedience. Now in contrast to this is satan's idea of freedom and happiness found in lawlessness.

Satan wants us to think that without the law, we would really be happy. So in 1 John 3:8, staying right there in that same book, it says, "the one who practices sin is of the," who? "The devil. For the devil has sinned from the beginning." Wow. So the devil is a sinner from the beginning. In chapter 3:4, just a couple verses back, it says, "everyone who practices sin also practices," what? "Lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness.

" Or sin is transgression, breaking of the law. This is what sin is all about. Satan is the inventor of sin. And sin is just, "hey, live without the law. You don't need the law.

" That's the whole point of sin. That's what it means. And so satan's idea is that he is somehow trying to convince the human race that this is the best way to live, that God's way of living within law is not really a loving way to live. It's not really a happy existence. It's one that is burdensome and grievous.

And we don't want to do that. And that's the deception he has been trying to pawn off on us for centuries. In 2 Thessalonians 2, notice this, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and 7. This is very, I think--this is right here folks, present truth. This is stuff that applies to the days in which we are living right now.

Look what it says in verse 7, "for the mystery of lawlessness," or inequity, "is already at work." And could we say that that mystery of inequity, the anti-Christ's power is working today still? Yes. In fact, we see him in our world today. I think as--within our lifetime, I really believe we're gonna see the culmination of the work of the antiChrist. Verse 7, "for the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way." In verse 3, it says, "let no one in any way deceive you; for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, The Son of destruction." The antiChrist at the end of time--this is very important--is described as the man of what? Sin or lawlessness or inequity. I think that tells, that could give us a clue as to satan's mode of operation at the end of time.

Again, his message, I believe, will be that we don't really need to follow God's law. That's gonna be the message at the end of time. Oh, it might be very subtle. It might not be as blatant as that, but it's gonna come around to that very issue at the very end I believe. And if we understand a little bit of end time prophecy, I think we can all see how that is already happening.

Alright, so the lesson takes us again back to the Garden of Eden. And let's see here. I'm gonna skip that because--well, no, let's go back there. Genesis 2. Genesis 2.

This also applies to I think what we're seeing in our world today. Genesis 2:16-17. Now, what happened here is God had given adam and eve a command. Who can tell us how many trees there were in the Garden of Eden? Anybody want to guess? A lot of trees. But for some reason, adam and eve had to pick the one tree that God said, "don't touch it," right? Or, "don't eat from it.

" I mean I just don't understand that. But that's kind of the way we are as human beings, isn't it? You tell someone not to do something and they do it, right? That's the way we are. So look what happens here in Genesis 2:15, "then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'from any tree of the garden you may eat," what? "Freely." Would you characterize that as restraint or would you say that that was God giving them lots of freedom. Freedom, right? I mean he was like, "hey, there are--" you know, we could just--i mean probably thousands of trees in this garden, maybe even more.

"You can eat from," how many of them? "Any of them." And how can you eat from them? "Freely." Wow. Wow. I mean that's good news right there. But God's like, "hey, but there's one tree, it's the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It's in the middle of the garden.

If you eat from it, you will," what? "Surely die." You're gonna die. And I mean it was pretty simple. It was pretty clear. There was no ambiguity here. No one was having to ask questions about this, right? Satan comes along in verses 4 and 5, we just read this earlier, he said to the woman, "you will not surely die.

" Okay, so God was lying. Verse 5, "for God knows on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil." He's like, ya know, "God gave you a lot of things to make you happy, but there's that one tree that he kept from you. And that one tree is gonna make you really unhappy if you don't eat from it." That's what he was saying, right? Wow. Why did God have to put that tree in the middle of the garden? That's my first question. Anybody have an answer? Why did God have to put that tree there? Loyalty.

Interesting. To test. You know love is never forced. Isn't that right? And so God, in giving human beings the ability to choose freely, right, had to allow us a way that we could choose something other than him if we wanted to. Right? Yeah, you could say, "well, yeah, but he could have done that just by allowing us to be free beings to begin with.

And just like lucifer, we could have come up with it on our own," right? But perhaps something in the Great Controversy forced God in a way to put this tree there. Satan said, "hey, you're not being fair if you don't have a way for them to get connected with me. I mean, come on, I'm the other power in the universe." And so God said, "okay, I'm gonna put this tree there." And I like what the lesson says. It says, "it required that God give adam and eve an opportunity to demonstrate their willingness to enjoy eternity with their creator. Their obedience to the divine command," by not eating from the tree, "would show that they were freely choosing to enjoy eternal life with him.

" So satan comes along and says, "no. You will not be happy. You need to be free from God's commands." And the lesson said basically satan wanted adam and eve to declare their independence from God. He wanted them to say, "hey, we don't want to be, you know, living within God's law under his rule anymore." And listen to what it says. "It is that clearly expressed divine will that satan attacks and opposes, offering instead total independence from God.

This was his basic agenda in heaven, independence from the divine command, being his own law without accountability to anyone." You and i, we've all known some people I'm sure that like to live life this way, don't want to be accountable to anybody. They don't want anyone to tell them what to do. And as I've looked at people that have decided to live life this way, it occurs to me that it might be fun for a while, but ultimately it only hurts you when you live like that, because you go around hurting other people. And in the process, it comes back and it hurts you. And so satan, he wants us to do the same thing today.

Doesn't he? How can we protect ourselves form his deceptions? I think, you know, spending time reading how God has led people in the past, and how they have lived a life of joy and happiness and freedom within obedience to God, that is one way that we can protect ourselves from satan's deceptions. Okay, well the lesson moves on. We're gonna move on to Colossians 1. Let's look this verse up, Colossians 1:16-17. It kind of jumps around here.

But we're gonna jump around with it, I guess. The next part takes us to the issue of Christ's role in the cosmic conflict. Colossians 1. And I'm not exactly sure what connection this has directly to everything else we're talking about, but we're gonna read it here. Colossians 1:16, "for by him," Jesus, "all things were," what? "Created.

" Jesus is the creator of everything. Isn't that awesome? The creator came down to this world too. That's what I like. Both visible, "in the heavens and earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things have been created through him and for him.

" Just a little side note, who did he also then create, if this is the case? Lucifer, right? Interesting that he created lucifer. Lucifer wanted to do away with Jesus. Jesus came to this earth and lucifer bruised his heel. Isn't that right? I mean think about that, the creator in this battle with one of his most beloved creatures. Wow.

Verse 17, "he," Jesus, "is before all things, and in him," what? "All things consist," or hold together. And so Christ is obviously a very integral part. In fact, he is the ruler of this universe. And so we go on now to job 1. I have someone--someone out here has that verse, job 1:8-11.

Who would like--who was reading that for us? Okay. "Then the Lord said to satan, 'have you considered my servant job, there is no one on the earth like him, he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.' 'Does job fear God for nothing?' Satan replied. 'Have you not put a hedge around him and his household, and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!'" Wow. That's like telling a parent, "hey, you know the reason your kid is so well-behaved is just because you, you know, do nice things for them.

" But think about this. What was satan saying to God? What was he doing? How was he attacking God himself? He was saying, "alright, first of all, God, job serves you to get favors from you." Right? Verse 8--verse 9, I'm sorry. Does job fear God for nothing? "Of course he's gonna serve you, God. You're being good to him. That's the reason.

That's his motive," right? That's what he was saying. Alright? What's the second thing he's saying? What is implied in these verses? Why is God, according to satan, blessing job then? What is being implied here? Thank you. Basically I think you're right. I think he's saying, "and by the way, of course, job is being good to you. But--and in the process of this, you're being nice to him because he's nice back to you and obeys you and worships you.

" Wow. Talk about--what would you call both of these motives? Again, selfish. I mean it just goes back to selfishness, right? Satan wants us to think that God is like him, basically. He wants us to think God is selfish. Is that who God is? Or is it true that God is the embodiment of the exact opposite of that? He's the embodiment of love.

John 4:8 says, "God is," what? "Love." And of course, in Corinthians 13 we just read it says that, "love is," and it gives us these characteristics, these attributes. Well, in the lesson it brought out a--it has an interesting quotation. I'd like to read it with you. It's on page 24 of my lesson. I'm not sure if it's the same in yours there.

And going back to Christ and his role in the universe. Christ perhaps was the one that satan came and talked to here in job 1. And Ellen white, she brings out this point. She says, "all things Christ received from God, but he took in order to give. So in the heavenly courts, in his ministry for all created beings, through the beloved son, The Father's life flows out to all.

And through The Son it returns and prays in joyous service, a tide of love." So according to this, she's saying, hey, people give back because of love, not because they're trying to get more out of him. "To the great source of all. And thus through Christ, the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the great law-giver, the law of life." All of that to say that according to what the Bible says, God is actually not selfish. In fact, he gives and we are free to either give back or to reject, to not worship. Isn't that right? In fact, what does it say in Matthew 6? "He causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

He gives his gifts to the good and the bad." That's who God is. There's no strings attached. He gives it to us, and it's our choice. How can we live in harmony then with this circuit of beneficence as the lesson pointed out here? Let me take you to two verses really quick. We're gonna finish up here.

We're not probably gonna get to Thursday's lesson, but that's okay. Go to Isaiah 58. You know, a lot of times--how many of you think we're living at the end of time in this world? Okay. And so there's not really much doubt that the lot of things are happening in our world that are pointing to that. And so a lot of times we think, well, what should we do? We're living at the end of time.

How can we--you know, what does God want us to do right now? And I think it's a good question to ask, first of all. But I think sometimes we jump to conclusions and we say, "well, God obviously wants us to do this or that or the other." But what does God want us to do? And it's really, I think--there are two passages I want to share with you today. The first is in Isaiah 58. The other is in Luke 3. And actually could we go to that one first? Keep your finger in Isaiah.

So this is going to be the first one, Luke 3:10-14. Would you agree that we are to be the last day John the baptists? Would you agree that we had the last day Elijah message? Okay. What was his message? Luke 3, look what it says. "The crowds were questioning him, saying, 'then what should we do?'" That's the question that we ask as well. What should we do? the Lord is coming.

We're supposed to be the forerunners, the preparers of the way. What should we do? Here's what he said, verse 11, "and he would answer and say to them, 'the person who has two tunics is to share with him who has,'" what? "None; and he who has food is to do likewise." "And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, 'teacher, what should we do?' And he said to them, 'collect no more that what you were ordered to.' Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, 'and what about us? What should we do?' And he said to them, 'do not take money from anyone by force or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.'" Boy, if these principles had been followed in our country today on wall street, would we be having the problem we're having right now? Probably not. Do you think this is practical for us today? Do you think this is still the kind of life that God says, "hey, this is what I want you to do." God doesn't need a bunch of people out there preaching the Gospel who are living like crooks. He needs people who are like this, right? Not that any of us here are living like that. But that's the point, right? Going back to Isaiah 58, God says, "listen, what I want from you is not a bunch of words or ceremonial observances.

" In fact, he says, "is this the fast which I have chosen?" He says, "actually, what I want you to do is this: to listen the bonds of wickedness," verse 6, "to undo the bands of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, to break every yoke, divide your bread to the hungry, bring the homeless into your house, when you see the naked, you cover them and hide not yourself from your own flesh." And if you think about it, those actions that God has prescribed for us are really the cure to the problem that originated in heaven millennia ago. The cure to the greed that each one of us have been given as a result of adam's sin, isn't that right? By reaching out to others, by living a life that is honest and unselfish and benevolent, we actually are living out the life that God wants us to live and repudiating and eliminating in our lives that greed and selfishness that is so much a part of our sinful nature. Just a couple weeks ago, "a 45-year-old man and his -year-old autistic son were rescued Sunday morning after--hours after being swept out to see while swimming there in the ponce inlet in florida. And both were in good condition." I shared this story last week in my sermon. It says, "walter marino and his son, chris, of winter park were caught in the swift currents of the inlet and disappeared around :30 Saturday evening according to a coast guard spokesman.

" What had happened was The Son had been out in the ocean. The Father had gone out to try to rescue The Son. But as they were out there, they were both separated, up to a mile apart. But they were finally rescued. I thought about this.

I thought, you know, parents are willing to do anything, aren't they, to save the life of their child. This father was willing to swim out to sea, to risk his own life. And in fact, he thought he had given his own life up, as they were separated and there was no help coming, in order to rescue his son. Praise God that the outcome of this story was a good one. But as I thought about that, I thought of those words of Jesus, "if you then being evil know how to do good things for your kids, how much more does our Father in Heaven want to do that for us?" Can we trust our Father in Heaven? Can we put aside the lies that satan wants us to believe that somehow he is out to make us unhappy or to harm us in some way? Can we put those aside and can we believe that God is in fact a God that loves us so deeply that according to John 3, the words that we all know so well, that "he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"?

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