The Work of the Prophets

The Work of the Prophets

Scripture: Hosea 12:13, 1 Kings 18:21, Daniel 9:24-27
Date: 02/14/2009  Lesson: 7
The ministry of the prophets is explored in depth.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are joining us this morning from across the country and around the world like you do every single week. We're so glad that we get to study together this morning at another "central study hour." And we're gonna sing, of course, some of your favorite songs that have come in. And the first one is found on , "cover with his life," 412. So please pull out your hymnals those of you who are at home and we will sing together the first, second and fourth verse, "cover with his life," 412.

[Music] I want to thank louise from antigua and barbuda, mike and cathy in California, shirley in costa rica, jim, dianne, jamie and buffy in florida, John in Iowa, bud and jody in Maine, ali in malawi, and joyann in New York for that request. And if anybody else out there or here has a favorite request that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, go to our website: saccentral.org, click on the "contact us" link and you can send in your favorite hymn and we will sing that for you. Our next song is number 15, "my maker and my king," number 15. This is from ralph and birdie and careline in bahamas, orville in Canada, journey in costa rica, brenda, wilfred and Karen in granada, camilla and shenille in jamaica, margaret in netherland antilles, kiza in saint lucia, mathata, central Seventh-day Adventist Church in south africa, levita, sherry, peggy and charise in england, and joanne and helena in New York. Number 15: st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th verse.

[Music] Father in Heaven, thank you so much for your love. And I pray that we will reciprocate that love back to you by showing you every day that we really are your children through our words, our actions, in everything we do. Father, we ask you this morning to please be with us as we open up Your Word and we study together. We pray that you'll be with each person here, those that are part of our family but are not here with us in the sanctuary. Please send your spirit to be with each one as we study together this morning, as Pastor Doug brings us the lesson study.

In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you to our musicians. Morning, friends. Want to welcome our visitors here at Sacramento central church.

I want to welcome our members here at Sacramento central church. We're glad you're here too. I want to welcome our visitors who are watching on tv or the internet. And we have members that are logging into the streaming services, both worship and the study. And we welcome you.

If you want to know more about how you can be part of this growing church family, you can simply go to saccentral.org. Best thing is for you to find a Seventh-day Adventist Church in your neighborhood. But some people tell us that this is the only thing nearby. And we welcome you to find out about how you can be part. Also want to tell you we have a free offer today, offer number 774.

Ask for it; we'll send it to you. It's called: "compromise, conformity, and courage." Once again, call the number: -788-3966 and we'll be happy to send that to you. This is the year of evangelism, principally here in North America. And we want to encourage everybody in 2009; get involved in some form of public evangelism. Now this really is close to my heart.

Of course, Amazing Facts is an evangelism ministry. If you were to summarize what Amazing Facts is in one word, it'd be the word "evangelism." But I started out as a lay evangelist. Some people think that I went through all the traditional schooling and came into ministry, became a pastor and then an evangelist. I did it backwards. I was a layman doing regular, secular work and just was doing evangelism in my spare time while I was doing mechanic work in Texas or selling firewood in California.

And it's not very hard. Back then what I'd do is I went to seminars unlimited. And they're still available. And you can get a set of Revelation seminar lessons or a set of Daniel seminar lessons. I would send handbills to my community.

They've got it all, so it's plug and play. Pardon me, but it's evangelism for dummies; anybody can do it. They tell you, "here are the handbills. Plug in your information. We'll send it to your zip codes.

The people will come to your building. And here's the lessons." They've even got lessons on how to do the lessons. Anybody can do it. And Amazing Facts, of course. We've got our "storacale Bible prophecy" series lessons that we did with "the millennium of prophecy" series in New York.

You can follow that. Some people will watch the video of the lesson in New York and then they'll present it themselves. You don't need to have a church or a stadium. You can do it in a home. I've done evangelistic meetings in moose lodges and veterans' halls and just all kinds of places, at theaters.

And there's a lot of different ways that you can do public evangelism. And not only am I trying to encourage the laity; you can do meetings. But doctors, pastors, it's also possible to do bridging events. In other words, you'll do a seminar--we used to conduct seminars on how to stop smoking. Some people will come to a seminar like that that might be a little scared to take that next step and go to an evangelistic meeting.

So we do a meeting on how to lose weight. We used to do these "weigh right" programs. And there's a lot of people out there struggling with that. And they'll come. You make friends, you build relationships.

And you say, "you know we're gonna follow up this with a great spiritual seminar. It talks about health principles from the Bible." And you can then segue them into a Bible seminar. But it's easier to win souls than you think. And so I just would like to personally appeal for everybody to do something, to get involved in soul-winning. And there's a lot people can do on tv, you know, there's evangelistic programs on tv and net programs and websites.

But you really harvest people the best when you get involved and personally are able to see them face-to-face, study with them, build relationships, those are the ones who become rooted and grounded in the church. That's still the very best and most proven method. So once again, I want to encourage you to get involved in the year of evangelism this year. And do something, and we'll have a great harvest together. Amen? Alright.

Today we're on lesson number 7: "the work of the prophets," lesson number 7. And gonna be considering a kaleidoscope of--okay, a plethora of different Scriptures. I like using those words. Memory verse, Hosea 12:13, please here at central say it with me, even our friends watching on the internet, you can say it, you ready? "By a prophet, the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt. And by a prophet, he was preserved.

" Now of course, it was the prophet Moses that the Lord used to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt. And it was the prophet, Joshua, that he used to lead them into the promised land. I'll say again what I've said before. Every time God does something significant with his people historically, he raises up men and women that he operates through. God is not looking for better machines--now I was really excited when they came out with some new projectors.

And it's so easy now to do video evangelism. Back when I did evangelism and I started out, I had three of those ectographic slide projectors. And I had trunks full of slides. And I had a closet filled with carousels all the different slides. I had three carousels just for my study on the devil.

I had a stack--matter of fact, it's still in the church back there. I'll show you some day if you want to pay admission. I got a stack of three projectors and a coyote computer. And I had to program every slide movement. And it was so hard, I'd take that stuff overseas.

Had this big old trunk, looked like a coffin, to carry all of that stuff and keep it preserved. Now you can just get a little--they got little bitty, you just put 'em in a little briefcase, a little bitty...video projector, you know, isn't that what it's called? Yeah. A little video projector and laptop computer. And you can go anywhere now and from your laptop you can broadcast, you know, you can have a thousand power point programs with all the studies I've ever done on one laptop. And you can all carry it in one hand.

You can go to india. If you can get electricity and a sheet against the wall. Go to africa. If you can get a generator and a white-washed wall, you can have an evangelistic meeting. Simple equipment.

It's just really wonderful now. You go to the streets of-- or go to the beach on madras. Millions of people swarming up a very wide beach there. And all you need is a little generator, or if you got a battery and an inverter, you can do it right there from the back of a pickup. Put up a big screen, start preaching, little p.

a. System. People will stop, instant crowd. You don't need handbills. But you know, to do evangelism, God doesn't really need better equipment.

Successful evangelism depends on better men and women. And sometimes we think, you know, God could do great things if we had more money. We struggle with this here at Amazing Facts because every month we send out an appeal letter to our friends because we see so many things that we could do, we think, if we had more money. You know, you could buy more time on tv. You have more time on tv, more people hear the word, more people hear the word, you have more converts, and it seems very simple if we just had more money.

We could reach more people. But I have to remind myself every now and then, that is not the greatest obstacle to the Gospel. God is not looking for better methods. Oh, if we could have another training program, that's what we need. A seminar on how to do seminars.

And I'll tell ya, in our church folks just love to go to evangelism training. They like that a lot more than doing evangelism. Or we'll go to small group training, or we'll go to child evangelism training. And we are trained more than any other people. But when we get done with the training, all those loose-leaf binders end up on the shelf and nobody ever does anything about it.

So it's not better methods or more money or better machines, but what God really wants to finish the work is men and women that are available. Whenever God gets ready to do something significant, he taps somebody. And he finds people who are surrendered and humble instruments. Moses was the meekest man in all the world. And as we have been looking during this quarter at, "the life and ministry of Ellen white," you'll find out that she was not just the meekest of the meek, but the weakest of the weak.

And God often chooses humble instruments to do his great work. It's when we get on our knees and say, "Lord, depart from me. I'm a sinful man." Then he can operate through us. It's when John the baptist said, "Lord, I have need to be baptized of thee." That's what really qualified John, that humility. And so God always picks people.

Now, if you believe that God has prophets in the last days--remember he tells us, "behold I'll send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord." He tells us, "be careful about false prophets because there will be true prophets." And one of the gifts of the Spirit is the gift of prophecy. And God's gifts are still available in the church today. So if he's going to have prophets in the last days, what evidence would you accept that a person was a prophet? You know when I look over the usual suspects of modern prophets--when I say "modern prophets" I mean in the last couple hundred years, people who have been hailed as prophets. You can go as far back as nostradamus. And then there are even people who are walking the streets today that are prophets.

Some of 'em will be interviewed on "larry king." They claim to be channeling and in touch with other worlds. That's the gift of prophecy they claim. And I look at the Bible criteria sincerely, objectively. I cannot find any candidate that comes anywhere near meeting the qualifications like Ellen white does. And I'm not just saying that because I'm a Seventh-day Adventist.

I'm a Seventh-day Adventist because that's the evidence that I saw. In her personal life, in the way that her ministry coincided and paralleled the ministry of biblical prophets. And you realize there are many different kinds of biblical prophets. Some of the prophets in the Bible wrote, but they didn't predict anything. We often think a prophet is someone who's going around telling you what the weather's gonna be in a week.

But we got satellites for that now, right? Prophets aren't always foretelling the future. Not every prophet wrote a book. Some prophets were given a very specific message to a specific people. And a present truth. Some prophets were called to build boats.

I mean the ministry of prophets were all a little unique, but there's some things they had in common. We're gonna look at that now. What were some of the criteria in the ministry of prophets? Well, the first thing we know is they gave their message. The work of a prophet was to do it in the context of preaching the Gospel. Someone please read for me Corinthians 2:2.

"For I am determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified." Jesus and the cross is to be central in proclaiming the Bible. Was that the case in old testament prophets? I believe so. For instance, if you go in your Bible to the book of Genesis 22, and we look there at the life of Abraham. Now, by the way, was Abraham a prophet? Come on. Help me.

Was Abraham a prophet? Little interaction is appreciated. We often think of him as a patriarch. But Abraham was in his own right a patriarch, prophet and king. Sheiks back then were sort of Kings of their tribes. Was he perfect? Well, we found out last week that he sometimes lost faith.

He told half truths about Sarah being his wife. But yet in spite of all that happening, God said, "he is a prophet; have him pray for you." You remember the story here in acts--I'm sorry--in Genesis 22. It says in verse 1, "now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham and said to him, 'Abraham!' And he said, 'here I am.' He said, 'now take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.' So Abraham arose early in the morning and he saddled his donkey, young man with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood of the burnt offering, and he arose and he went to the place that God told him of. And on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and he saw the place afar off. And Abraham said to his young men, 'stay here with the donkey; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.

'" Notice "we will come back to you." "So Abraham took the wood and the burnt offering and he laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and the knife, and the two went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, 'my father!' He said, 'here I am, my son.' He said, 'look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?' And Abraham said, 'my son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.' And the two of them went together. This is one of the great storacales in the old testament that helps you see Christ and him crucified. Even Jesus said, "Abraham longed to see my day and he saw it and rejoiced." This was the day when Abraham saw the day of Christ. And you just look at the parallels here.

The Father and son going to the place of sacrifice together. God The Father and The Son cooperated in the salvation of man. They made a journey 3 days. He sees the mountain, leaves the servants. And then they go another /2 a day up the mountain, /2 days to the place of sacrifice.

From when Christ began his ministry, his baptism, there was /2 years of a journey to the place of sacrifice. And then they go up the mountain. The wood is placed on the back of Isaac. The cross was placed on the back of Jesus. And Isaac said, "father, where is the lamb?" He said, "my son, God will provide himself a lamb.

" That wording is very specific. God provided himself--God The Son provided himself a lamb. How old is Abraham here? Don't know exactly, but Isaac may have been anywhere from to 25. He's a young man. He's strapping.

Abraham's over 100. Not very likely if Isaac resisted that Abraham could catch him running like a gazelle from his father on those mountains. Isaac was a willing sacrifice. When The Father told him what God had commanded, he put out his hand so that he could be bound without struggling and offered himself. Back then kids honored their parents much more than they do today.

And he was willing, a willing sacrifice like Jesus. And then of course before Abraham brings down the knife, they spy--the angel stops the hand of Abraham, and says, "don't do it. Now God has seen you demonstrate this faith." He believed that God would even be able to raise up his son, it tells us in Hebrews. He believed in the resurrection, just as Jesus was raised up. Then he saw in the distance there was a ram caught in a thicket by the horns.

And a thicket back then was a word for a thorn bush. So here you've got a ram with a crown of thorns that ended up being a substitute for Isaac. All of these are pictures of Jesus. You can see the Gospel all through the old testament, all the way from the beginning when it said there in Genesis, in Genesis 3:15. "And I'll put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and his seed.

" And you go from Genesis where it talks about the serpent being cursed and the antipathy between the serpent and the woman. And then you go to Revelation 12 and it tells about the serpent being wroth with the woman. And you've got this story is carried all the way from the old testament to the new testament. One of the criteria of a prophet is that they would see Christ all along the way. And you have evidence of that.

Someone read for me John, Gospel of John 1:29. "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, 'behold! The lamb of God which taketh away the sin the world!'" So who was it that Abraham was looking forward to when he went up the mountain with Jesus? When abel offered a lamb to God, who did that lamb point to? Christ and him crucified. You can read in Leviticus 4-- this is in your lesson-- and I'm gonna read this for you, verses 27-31, "if anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which ought not to be done, and is guilty, or if the sins which he has committed comes to his knowledge, then he shall bring his offering a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. And he'll lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering. Then the priest will take some of the blood with a finger, and put it on the horns of the altar of the burnt offering, and pour all the remaining blood at the base of the altar.

" Christ was crucified. His blood is offered for you and me. It ran there at the foot of the cross. It's like the altar. "He shall remove all of its fat, and its fat shall be removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma," a symbol of the prayers of Christ, his intercession in our behalf.

"So the priest will make atonement for him--" and underline this part-- "and it shall be forgiven him." Starts out if any one of the people sins, after the lamb is sacrificed, it says, "it shall be forgiven him." Do we still sacrifice lambs for forgiveness? Or is Christ the lamb that takes away the sin of the world? It's through applying the blood of Jesus that we have our sins forgiven. They're taken away. One of the best examples of the Gospel in the old testament is in Isaiah 53. Matter of fact, when we did our--oh, what was that? The "prophecy code" program. Some of you remember on the set of the "prophecy code," we had a big section of the Bible in Hebrew blown up.

And it really was a Hebrew text of the Bible. And it was blown up and he put some gloss on it and it was like a piece of hardened scroll. And they said, "well, what do you want to put on there?" And I said, "I want Isaiah 53." Because if we wanted something, we wanted something that looked ancient in original language. And I thought, "but there might be some Hebrews or rabbis out there that are actually reading what's on that scroll." And if they're gonna read any part of the old testament, I want them to read this part. So there's a little tidbit of trivia for you is when you see the "prophecy code," on that scroll is Isaiah 53.

And I kept praying that jews watching that spoke or read Hebrew would read that because it's very hard for a jew to read this chapter and deny that it's talking about Jesus, 'cause it so perfectly parallels the life of Christ. Let me find that for you. I was gonna read it, and I turned to the wrong place. Verse--we can do Isaiah 53. Start with verse 6.

"All we like sheep have gone astray." Well, no I want to go back before that. Verse 4--no, I gotta go back more than that. Start with the first verse. Actually you have to start with chapter 52:13 if you really want to get the whole thing. Chapter 52:13, "behold, my servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.

Just as many were astonished at you, so his visage was marred more than any man, and his form more than The Sons of men; so he will sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at him; for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they will consider. Who has believed our report?" This is Isaiah 53:1, "and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He's despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

And we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised, and we did not esteem him. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; and the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed." Jesus was bruised. He was whipped. He was wounded all for us.

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we've turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." And this is a prophecy about the Messiah. God laid on Jesus the inequity of how many? All. Not just those who confessed and accepted. He died for the sins of the whole world. "He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.

" Did Jesus say anything say anything to defend himself in his trial? Pilate marveled that he said nothing. "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before the shearers are silent, so he opened not his mouth." When you flip a lamb upside down and they're shearing him on its back, something about the way they breathe, they stop their bleating--bleating-- at that time, they become vey quiet. "He opened not his mouth. "He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare his generation?" Jesus was bound, imprisoned, judged. "Who will declare his generation? For he's cut off from the land of the living," right in his prime.

"And he made his grave with the wicked." He's crucified between two thieves. "And with the rich in his death," buried in the grave of a rich man. "Because he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth." Pilate said, "I find no fault in him." There's no question this is written before it happened. This is part of the dead sea scrolls. This is one of the most ancient of the Jewish texts.

Matter of fact, some rabbis forbid their people to read this because it is so obvious it's a prophecy about Jesus Christ and him crucified. "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him," God The Father, "he hath put him to grief. When you make his soul an offering for sin, he--" The Father-- "will see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord will prosper at his hand. He will see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. By his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many.

" We're saved by knowing him. "For he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he will divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." This is a perfect summary in the old testament of the life and ministry of Jesus, of Jesus Christ and him crucified. If you're gonna believe in prophecy and you're wondering what does an old testament prophecy look like fulfilled. This is exhibit-a.

I mean some of the language is slightly cryptic, but I think anybody in fourth grade can read this and say, "well, that's talking about Jesus." And it's written 500 years before Christ. Nobody filled this in later. All the jews know that this is part of their ancient text. It's part of the septuagint, part of the dead sea scrolls. How could you deny it? So in the old testament and in the new testament, the central teaching of the prophets was Christ.

Now we've been talking a little bit about "the life and ministry of Ellen white." Does she meet that criteria? Yes. Matter of fact, here's a quote from the book, "Gospel workers," page 156: "of all prophesying Christians, Seventh-day Adventists should be foremost in uplifting Christ before the world." Again, "Christ object lessons," page 126: "Christ as manifest to the patriarchs, as symbolized in the sacrificial service, as portrayed in the law as revealed by the prophets in the riches of the old testament, Christ in his life, his death, in his resurrection, Christ as he is manifest by the Holy Spirit is the treasure of the new testament." There it is again. Christ and him crucified. "The sacrifice of Christ--" and this is from the book, "Gospel workers," page 315-- "the sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for the sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. This is to be the foundation of every discourse given by our ministers.

" Can't say that any better than that. Every evangelistic presentation, every sermon ought to be revolving on the axle of Jesus' cross. Jesus Christ and him crucified. You know I remember years ago--you know, I think I've told you before, but I know I always have new people who are tuned in and so I need to back up. But I was not always a Seventh-day Adventist.

When I first came to this church, or first came to the Lord, I was worshipping with Christians in the Sunday-keeping churches. And I studied with many different persuasions. I just wanted the truth. And I became so persuaded by the inspiration of the writings of Ellen white, that I ultimately began to attend Seventh-day Adventist Churches in spite of the fact I thought that they were sort of--oh, dusty as a congregation. Now I came to find out that every Seventh-day Adventist congregation has its own personality.

They're all a little different. I ran into one that was just spirit-filled, and that's where I finally got baptized. But I had visited with a few, and I thought, "man, these people are dead." Part of that was me because I had been going to charismatic churches where, you know, everything was like a hootenanny every week. And so by comparison, catholic churches and some of you more orthodox churches seemed a little bit stayed. But when I went to the church in covelo, even though most of 'em were senior citizens, the people were so spirit-filled and loving that you just, you know, they sang with exuberance, off-key, but exuberance.

And so, you know, I saw, "hey, these people are pretty neat." But then I continued worshipping on Sunday and going to Sunday churches, 'cause I wanted to convert all my friends in Sunday church. I said, "this is the truth," you know. And I remember going to one pastor and I said, "boy, these books by Ellen white are inspired." He said, "oh, false prophet. Cult." And he had very unkind things to say. And I said, "why do you say that?" And he could never really give me a good answer.

So one day I had a book, "steps to Christ." This was an assembly of God pastor. And it was under a different title. Some of you remember inspiration press. They printed a whole millions of these books, "steps to Christ." And it was under the title of "the greatest love." I think that was it, "the greatest love." Beautiful cover on it. So what I did, and I don't recommend this.

Maybe it was a little bit on the edge. I tore out the first page that tells who the author is. And I went to this pastor and I said, "brother so-and-so," I said, "boy, I read this book, and it just seems to really be spirit-filled." I said, "you know, could you take a look at this? Let me know what you think." I came back a week or so later and I said, "what'd you think of that book?" He said, "that was outstanding." He said, "this was tremendous. Where'd you get that book?" And this is the pastor that was telling me that, you know, Ellen white was a false prophet. I said, "well, actually that's written by Ellen white.

" And he just grew pale because he's been telling me how wonderful the book was. And I said, "did you find anything wrong with it?" He said, "well, in the last chapter where she talks about joy, she doesn't understand joy like pentecostals understand joy." And so you know, then he had to throw something in there. But I said, "be specific." He couldn't be specific. But he'd say, "oh, no, it's just not--" but up until he found out who wrote it, he thought it was wonderful. And you know, I've often found that if you give out segments of Ellen white's writings on different subjects to Christians from other faith, and they don't know.

They have no prejudice. Just read it for what it says. They go, "wow." I remember a couple years ago my wife was listening to dr. Laura schlessinger. I can't even say her name, sorry.

No disrespect, but...she doesn't seem to like men very much. Anyway, not my wife, this lady on the radio. But I'm sure a lot of people disagree with me. But I was listening and she started reading this quote. She said, "here is a wonderful quote about the kind of men the world need.

'The greatest wonder of the world is the want of men, men who won't be bought or sold, men who are true to duty as the needle is to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.'" And I'm listening to that and I said, "wait, wait, wait dear!" And I'm listening to it and she was quoting Ellen white, "book of education," word for word. And she said, "this is by somebody named e. Ellen white," or something. She didn't know who she was. And so she's quoting and saying, "what a great statement.

" So I went to her website and I taped that day's program off the website of dr. Laura quoting Ellen white saying, "this is the greatest thing I've ever read," because she had no prejudice. And then people were calling in the station say, "where'd you get that quote?" It's when people read with prejudice. But if you read it for what it is, the writings meet the biblical criteria of exalting Christ, of just the profoundness of the statements. Now I've only gotten through the first section here.

Another criteria for God's prophets is guiding the people of God in a lot of specific details, helping them get organized. Titus 1:5, the book of Titus 1:5. Did I give that to somebody? "For this reason, I left you in crete that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you." Thank you. So one of the important jobs of prophets is to help organize and give structure to God's people. You remember what the apostle said in acts 6:1-7.

They had to pick some deacons. Church was growing and they didn't have an organizational structure in place to handle this phenomenal growth. And they said, "what do we do?" And the apostle said, "look, it's not appropriate that we leave prayer and the ministry of the word so that we could serve tables." They spent all their time making distributions to the widows and making sure everybody had clothing and funds and they weren't able to study and pray and preach. And sometimes I've felt like that too, but I got a great team now. Organization is a way to flourish.

And so you read here in acts 6 verse--oh, we can read verse 1 through 7, but I'll start with here, I think it's verse 6. "The twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, 'it's not desirable that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables.'" Then you jump down, it says, "therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit, wisdom, who we may appoint over the business." So people were to be organized. This is one of the jobs of prophets. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the Spirits whether they are of God." You know, I don't want to get to that part yet. I first want to talk about the section under guiding God's people a little better.

You know, when the Seventh-day Adventist Church first began, they were not organized for almost the first 20 years. They were a movement that was just kind of very loose and disorganized. But there were problems there. Matter of fact, so many people I meet today, they say, "I believe the Bible. And I'm very spiritual, but I don't believe in religion and church organization.

" How many of you have run into those folks before? "Yeah, I'm a believer, but I'm not part of the organized church." And I always like to remind people that there's only one alternative. If you say, "I don't want to be part of the organized church," that means you do want to be part of the disorganized church. God loves order and organization. Matter of fact, I think I've got some verses on this. Corinthians 14:40.

Did I give that to somebody? "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace as in all churches of the saints. Let all things be done decently and in order." And here he's speaking in this chapter about the gifts of tongues. There's a lot of confusion in the church. And Paul says things should be done decently and in order. "God is not the author of confusion.

" Well, before our church was organized, because they believed Jesus was coming so soon, they said, "we don't want to be just another denomination." Because then it's like, you know, people, they open up a deck of cards and say, "pick a card, any card." That's how folks look about denominations. "What's your denomination?" "I like this one a little better, 'cause it's got, you know, these ingredients. And this one has these flavors. And I like what's on the box of this one." And that really, I think, undermines the Seventh-day Adventist movement. It is not just one of many denominations.

I believe that God has committed the truth to a people for the last days. And it's very unique. And I know, I'm not trying to be arrogant. I'm not trying to be exclusive, but you have to ask yourself, when you look across the plethora of churches that claim to be Bible Christian churches in the world, they can't all be right and disagreeing on so many fundamentals. And then there has to be in there somewhere one of them that's the closest to the Bible.

Shouldn't that be what we're looking for? And if I was the Lord, I'd love my people everywhere, but I would especially guide people to that group that was the closest to the Bible. Just like back in Bible times, all the pagan nations had elements of truth, but they weren't Israel. Israel had something because of the prophets the other nations did not have. He was in their midst. He had committed to them the oracles of truth.

And so they were very special in that way. You remember when the church began to grow after Moses first brought them out of Egypt. And God's people began to multiply and explode with growth. And Moses was spending all this time from morning-- his father, jethro, came to visit him and he had no time to visit because from the time the sun came up people--you know, you got 1 1/2, 2 million people spread out on this enormous plain. And they got all kinds of problems.

And they're coming to Moses and saying, "his goat's eating my goat's food. And his goat's in my tent, and he won't take it out. And his camel got his nose in my tent. And that's where that expression came from. And so they're sitting before Moses and he's having to, you know, to settle these disputes and it's judgment and answer questions and this new nation is born and they don't have the structure to handle all of this.

And jethro said, "what you're doing is gonna wear you out. You need to get organized." So through the prophet jethro-- did you know that Moses' father was a prophet in this capacity? He said, "let me give you some counsel from God." And he said--and Moses then in Deuteronomy 1:15 talks about when he took his father's counsel. And he says, "so I took the heads of your tribes, wise and knowledgeable men, and made them heads over you, leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, leaders of tens, and officers for your tribes." Well, some of the evidence of the inspiration of Ellen white is a way through her guidance in the early days of the church, she said, "we need to be organized." And let me see here. In the book, "early writings," page 97 and page 100, it says, "there was a danger of those traveling whom God has not called. It was shown to me.

I saw this door at which the enemy comes in to perplex and trouble the flock can be shut. I inquired of the angel, 'how could it be closed?' He said, 'the church must flee to God's Word and become established upon Gospel order, which had been overlooked and neglected.'" In other words, the angel was saying there are principals in God's Word for organization. And they were so against organization back then. God spoke to her and said, "we need to become organized." And so we began to organize churches. We established a denominational name.

And that simply meant that it said that there was a system of beliefs that we represent. There's nothing wrong with that. And that's summarized in the 12 primary pillars that you find in the baptismal vows, fundamental beliefs. Then they organized into conferences and missions and unions and divisions. And because of the structure and the levels of organization-- and quite frankly now because of communications in modern days, we may need to de-organize some things because some things we can do now we couldn't do before without traveling.

But you always want as little organization as you need to prosper, because other--you end up spending too much on organization that's taken away from the actual ministry sometimes. It's like the government where you get all these levels of bureaucracy and very little happening. And so organization is good though; the opposite is chaos. And so because of the organization that God gave to her through inspiration, you now have a global system around the world where you've got hospitals, printing houses, an educational system. Organization enabled it to blossom and grow.

And so that's another sign of the prophets is they help get things organized. And then they also--i started reading another verse to you earlier. They help them test the true and separate it from the false. And I started reading John 4:1-3. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the Spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

By this you will know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God." So one of the works of the prophets was to also help people with the discernment regarding false teachings that were coming in. Did they deal with this in the early church? Did Moses have counterfeit leaders with different messages that came in, that had to be reproved? Actually the ground opened up and swallowed a couple of 'em. And so one of the works of prophets is to help identify heresy that was coming in. And oh poor Ellen white had to deal with a lot of that. But she did it well, because the church--look at the fruit.

It became grounded and solid all around the world. By the way, I'm gonna say something to you that I want to say. I've noticed that when churches begin to question, doubt and delete their confidence in the inspiration of Ellen white and her writings, they begin an evolution out of the Seventh-day Adventist movement. I've been in the church long enough to watch it just happen-- saw it happen again recently. I won't tell you where.

Just--it started several years ago with another church I can think of. They started saying, "you know, we don't want to go by Ellen white," for whatever their reasons were. And I said watch now; it's just a matter of time. Pretty soon they're gonna separate from the church. They just did.

It begins an evolution back towards the ecumenical churches. You know what's happening now in Christianity; there is a movement to downplay doctrinal differences for the sake of unity. "Let's just say we love each other. Let's forget about the distinctive differences. And if you've got some differences about truth, you keep that to yourself, because it just creates friction.

And let's just love each other." And there is sort of a generic form of Christianity that's being accepted across the country. And it's considered very bad taste to talk about the doctrinal differences except when you're in your church. Then you can talk about it. Get out of your church; bad taste. Don't talk about politics.

Don't talk about doctrinal differences. Let's all be ecumenical and love each other. And because Seventh-day Adventists sort of stand out-- for one thing, you meet on a different day, some Seventh-day Adventists say, "yeah, I don't want to be different. I don't want to be ostracized. I don't want anyone to say I'm a cult.

" Even though Jesus said, "you'll be hated of all nations for my namesake." So if you want to be loved by the world, you're not gonna be loved by God. Jesus said, "woe unto you when all men speak well of you for so they did of the false prophets." The world speaks well of the false prophets. You'll find lots of people out there that think that jeane dixon and nostradamus and edgar cayce were inspired. They'll have programs on it. But I'm still waiting for that program on the history channel about the inspiration of Ellen white.

The devil's not gonna allow that. See what I'm saying? And so if you're waiting to be popular, you've gotta make up your mind right now who you want to be popular with: with God, Jesus and his spirit or with the world? And so some churches in wanting to be accepted and popular, they're distancing themselves from the inspiration of Ellen white. You watch. Mark my words. Underscore this; they begin an evolution out of the movement.

It sometimes takes a few years, but it's just a matter of time. The inspiration that God gave to Ellen white and the messages that he gave to Ellen white is a defining difference in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Now don't misunderstand. I can preach every single pillar of our faith purely from the Bible. But there is a distinctiveness that her writings give to this message, that when rejected-- I believe there, you know, when you reject the prophets you will not prosper.

That's what the Bible says. Am I being straight enough for you, friends? You know why? 'Cause our next session's on reproving sin. In Tuesday's lesson, talks about one of the ministries of the prophet. Amos 5:12. I gave that to somebody.

"For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe; and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right." One of the things you'll notice about the prophets in the old and the new testament-- let's think of some old testament prophets. How about Elijah, 1 Kings 18, when he said to the people, "how long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him. But if baal follow him--" and when Elijah said to king ahab, "it's not me that has called this drought on the land, it's you and jezebel. It's your sins." It takes boldness to tell a king he's a sinner. You've got prophets that go before Kings and Elijah also went before another king and he said, "is it because there's no God, no prophet in Israel, you go to beelzebub?" One prophet came to Solomon and said, "God's gonna depart from you and take the Kingdom from you because you've departed from him.

" That takes courage. You can find them all through the old testament. When Moses goes before pharaoh, you know, has the audacity to say, "let my people go. Tell the pharaoh he's sinned." When John the baptist tells herod, "you've sinned because you've taken your brother's wife." Whoa. Don't tell a king that.

He lost his head, didn't he? Was John the baptist a prophet? Do you find that kind of straight teaching and preaching in the testimonies of Ellen white? I believe you do. You can read here in the book, "testimonies." She says, "it has been the disagreeable work assigned to me to reprove private sins, where I in order to prevent suspicion and jealousy have to give a full explanation of my course and make public that which should be kept private. I should sin against God and wrong the individuals. I have to keep private reproofs of private wrongs to myself, locked in my own breath." She was very careful about-- I may have left a word out earlier. She was very careful about keeping these private testimonies private.

"Let others judge as they may. I will never betray the confidence reposed in me by the erring and repentant, or reveal to others that which should only be brought before the ones that are guilty. And of course often she had to reprove people publicly who had publically sinned. And she had a lot of boldness for a little lady in that category. Another characteristic of the prophets is they predict the future.

Isaiah 44:28, here Isaiah prophesied a king who was not born yet for over 100 years who says of cyrus, "he is my shepherd. And he will perform all my pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, 'you will be built. And to the temple your foundation shall be laid.'" And like Jeremiah, where in :11, he said, "this whole land will be a desolation and an astonishment. And these nations shall serve the King of Babylon 70 years." Very clear, specific prophecies. Did Ellen white ever demonstrate that? Many occasions.

I've just got a couple that are lifted from the lesson here. For instance, January 12, 1861, months before the outbreak of the American civil war she received a vision in the parksville, Michigan church in which she was shown battlefields covered with the dead and dying. And you know, back when the civil war began, they thought that it was gonna be a brief skirmish at bull run, and that it would all be over. Nobody believed the carnage and bloodshed and lose of life that happened over the next /2 years was gonna happen. She related what she had seen and she told the listeners, "there are men in this house who will lose their sons in that war.

" That was a pretty bold thing to say. Well, it turns out that as history passed, they found out no less than five families in the room that day lost sons in the civil war. Very clear prediction that could not have been foretold. Here's something else. In 1885--and I realize our lesson time is about up here-- Ellen white predicted that protestantism would stretch its hand across the gulf and clasp the hand of the roman power, which would reach across the abyss and clasp the hand with spiritualism.

Then we might know the time has come for the marvelous working of satan, that the end is near. This lesson, I don't think--it was probably edited before pope benedict came to the u.s. And protestant and orthodox churches from all over North America came, kissed his hand, got down on their knees before 'em, and said, "let's all work together." Came to a catholic church to recognize him. Boy, I tell ya, if that's not a fulfillment of that prophecy. That would have been totally unaccepted.

That would have been considered treason for a protestant to do that with the catholics when she made that prediction. Now it's considered just very normal. There's a lot of other prophecies I could site, but our time is up. Well, friends, we thank you for studying with us. We hope that you will tune in next week.

And don't forget your free offer. "Compromise, conformity and courage," offer number 774. Just call 866-788-3966, and we'll send that to you for asking. God bless and we'll look forward to studying again next Sabbath.

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