Revelation

Revelation

Scripture: Hebrews 1:1-2, Romans 1:18-20, 2 Timothy 3:14-16
Date: 05/02/2009  Lesson: 5
God is intimately interested in humanity and speaks to all who are willing to listen.

The Savior and The Serpent (PB) by Doug Batchelor

The Savior and The Serpent (PB) by Doug Batchelor
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. A very special greetings to those that are joining us this morning from across the country and around the world, joining us live on the internet streaming this morning, through radio, television, however you're joining us, welcome and Happy Sabbath. We're gonna begin our song service this morning with a request from Pauline in Canada, ashley and howard in Georgia, barbara and shernette in jamaica and we happen to have visitors here right at central from jamaica this morning. Kevin in Michigan, jasmine in norway and brian in zambia. And they've requested hymn number 539, "I will early seek the Savior.

" We'll sing all three verses. [Music] When we were practicing that this morning, I just asked whoever was here just to really ponder those words this morning. They're so beautiful and I love "he loves me, he loves me, he loves me," and that is the theme that we have as Christians to portray to the Lord. Jesus loves us this we know and he's coming soon and we are redeemed. If you have a special request you'd like to sing with us and that we can share with you on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website at saccentral.

org and you can click on the "contact" link, "contact us" link, and we will sing that request that you have on a coming Sabbath. Any hymn in our hymnal, we're willing to learn new ones so send those in. "Redeemed how I love to proclaim it," hymn 337. This comes as a request from shirley and mike in australia, valerie in Canada, Daniel in columbia, salisha in england, jim, dianne, jamie and buffy in florida, eric in ghana, rudy in honduras, jeff and connie in Indiana, melinda in Louisiana, estejanet in Missouri, John and judith in norway, vern in Oregon, and will in Utah. Hymn 337, "redeemed, how I love to reclaim it.

" We'll sing all three verses. [Music] Redeemed is a great word 'cause you can't even say it without smiling: redeemed. Let's pray. Our Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for redeeming us, for loving us so much that you are willing to give up all of heaven to save us. We're grateful this morning and we humbly come before you on your Sabbath day, another gift that you've given us to remind us of how much you love us.

I ask you to please be with Pastor Doug this morning as he brings Your Words, Lord, to help them to change our hearts, help us to apply them to our lives that we can go out from this place feeling confident in you and that we can share your love with those around us so that you can come soon. We pray these things in your precious name, Jesus. Amen. This morning our study will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, the senior pastor here at Sacramento central. Thank you very much to our musicians this morning and singing some of my favorite songs.

Good morning, friends. Here are our 3-d class at Sacramento central and then we know we have a 2-dimensional class that is either watching on satellite or the internet, all over the world, and it's always encouraging to get the reports and the e-mails and stories from our friends. I've got some good news for our friends that are watching. By the way, some people don't know, they may tune in from week to week and they miss the announcement. There are a lot of people who are isolated in different parts of the world who are Seventh-day Adventist Christians and they don't have a church they can attend.

Sacramento central is sort of--has a burden or to be an island or an oasis for these people to give them some connection. It's always better to attend physically but at least to be connected. And so if you want to know more how you can be part of this church, we do have pastors here that communicate, that take prayer requests. There's a little bit of synergy, as much as you can do remotely like this, just go to saccentral.org and say, "I'm a Seventh-day Adventist" or "I'd like to be one." We clear everybody according to the baptismal vows, and they have to be baptized by immersion but contact us saccentral.org. Something else that just started this last week is not Sacramento central the internet members have a Facebook page and I think that's simply Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church.

And some of you who know how to use that stuff will be able to search and find it, so I wanted to let you know that. We are going through our quarterly today continuing with the Christian life. In just a moment we're going to get to lesson number 5. We always have a free offer and the free offer today is offer number 154, that's the number you ask for, and it's called "down from his glory." You call the number 866-788-3966 and ask for offer number 154 and they'll send you the book. It's a classic by Joe Crews called "down from his glory.

" Also we've been taking a little time at the beginning of our Sabbath school programs trying to stir you up in personal evangelism. We've talked about different ways and resources and training and things that you can do. This is the year of evangelism. We have a lot of evangelism going on right now. We're beginning here at central church.

We've planting a church, as you know, in Granite Bay. Right now there's about 200 people going there every week. Isn't that wonderful? After a year and a half. And they're starting another evangelistic meeting there in Granite Bay that begins next week, and all over the country, things like this are happening. So something came to me just last night that I thought I'd do and I'm hesitating to do it because for me, it is a little humiliating but I realized that at the expense of my ego, it may encourage you.

And so what you're about to see, let me set this up a little bit, is I'm gonna show you a dvd clip of my second evangelistic meeting. Now I do this because I was not an ordained minister. I was not educated as an ordained minister. I was simply a layman. I did auto mechanic work.

I did tree service, sold fire wood. Odd jobs, all kinds of things. But so I was a layman that had a burden for evangelism and so somebody actually came and videotaped it for the conference. They taped all these lay evangelistic meetings. This fella was throwing out his videotapes and he popped this one in and he said, "that guy looks familiar.

" Then he said, "oh, that's Doug Batchelor." So he walked up to me one day a couple of years ago and he said, "take a look at this," and it was the videotape I had not seen in years of me doing my second evangelistic meeting. And go ahead, jim, we'll play a little bit of that and see what happens. It's up on your screen here. I think there's 25 people there. I was terrified.

Why don't we start before we have our prayer and we'll review our quiz that we had on-- we were using the Revelation seminar lessons, the first ones. Anyone remember those brown lessons that came out? Were rather simple. It's named the three ceremonies that Christ left with the early church. Would someone like to name one of them? Three ceremonies that Christ left with the new testament church. You all realize this is agonizing for me to watch this.

Somebody say? Foot washing is one. What's another one? The communion service. Okay, that's enough. That's all I can stand. It goes on.

Now I'll tell you why I'm showing that. To me when I watch it I think: unbelievable. I'm thinking all these thing I'm doing wrong and I'm so sloppy and disheveled. I'm preaching with my hands in my pockets, and I don't know what I'm saying and-- and you know what? In spite of all that, people got baptized at the end of that series. The first--what happened actually is the first series I think we had like 11 baptisms, but there was a family that had like 11 people that came the last couple nights.

We had another series immediately to follow up that series and all told there was like 22 people. And so I was just in my glory. That's when I really got infected with the evangelism. But I was a totally green untrained layman just trying to share the message I loved and the Lord blessed. And so I say that just to encourage anyone out there that's thinking, "well, I'd like to do some evangelism, but I have no training.

" Now training's good too. People that go through the afcoe program. It's great if you do one like that and then go through the afcoe program. It contextualizes your training. There are many other training programs.

There's the arise, the mission college program, a number of other trainings. But get some evangelism training if you're gonna do it you know a few times a year it will just make you a lot better; but everybody can do it. And so if you had come and sat in on that series and watched one night and someone said, "yeah, in 25 years he'll be doing tell televangelism all over the world," you probably wouldn't have even laughed because it wouldn't have struck you as funny. But anyway, we show that to afcoe classes and they get encouraged. They say, "oh, there is hope for me.

" Anyway, enough said about that. Everybody can do meetings. All right, we're gonna talk about the Christian life. We're in lesson number 5. The Christian life, it's in our new quarterly, relatively new.

And lesson 5, it's on Revelation. It deals with the subject of how God speaks to us and how he reveals himself to us. We have a memory verse. Hebrews 1:1-2 and I'll appreciate if you say that with me. Are you ready? Hebrews 1-2 and I've got it from the new king James version.

"God who at sundry times and in various ways spoke in time past to The Fathers by the prophets has in these last days spoken to us by his son whom he has appointed heir of all things through whom also me made the worlds." God has spoken to us by his son. How does God reveal himself to us? What are some of the different ways? Now, just to run ahead, I'm gonna give you some of the mountaintops, some of the high points of how God reveals himself to us in the Bible. Matter of fact, I'm not gonna tell you, I'm gonna ask you. You tell me what are some of the ways, principle ways that we can trust that God would reveal himself to us? Hold up your hand if you've got an answer. Back here.

Through our conscience, okay. I'll repeat you so everyone can hear you. Through creation, our nature. That's right. That's in our lesson also.

Yes. Through prophets. I'm looking for a couple more. The Word of God. Thank you, that's first on my list.

There's still one more that you're missing that I think is important. Well, that's close to what I'm looking for, miracles. Let me tell you what it is. I see a lot of hands going up. Someone got close to it and they said miracles here.

I use the word "providence." Does God sometimes speak to us through providence, things that happen? All right, now let's go into our lesson just trying to stir you up to how does God reveal his truth that he's there above and beyond, you know, just the input that we have in life? Principally the surest way that God reveals himself to us is-- here's a clue...the Bible. I put the Bible up at the top of the list because of the different ways that God reveals himself to us, if you have a conflict between what you're feeling in your conscious and what the Bible says, what do you go with? If someone tells you they're a prophet but it conflicts with what the Bible says what, do you go with? If you have a providential experience and it conflicts with what the Bible says, you go with what? Suppose you see something in nature that seems to deny what the Bible says, what do you go with? You go with the Bible, the word God. And so the bottom line criteria in our determining truth is the word. Now when we talk about Christ revealing himself, what's another word for Christ? Christ is the word. Christ is the rock, the Bible is the rock.

And so Jesus said, "he that hears these words of mine he's like a wise man building his house on a rock." Ten Commandments were engraved in stone. And so this is the dependable foundation upon which all the other foundations rest. There are other pillars that we use, but they all rest on the word, is that clear? So that's the first thing. Now we've got a verse. Timothy 3:15-17.

I think we gave some of these out. Did somebody get that one? "And that from childhood you have known the holy Scriptures which were able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." All Scripture's inspired. Now when Paul made that statement, how much Scripture was there that was recognized? Principally the old testament, but you know even by the time of Paul and Peter, Peter refers to Paul's writing as Scripture. Did you know that? Look in 2 Peter real quick.

Peter I believe it's chapter 3 and I'm doing this somewhat from memory so I want to find it first before I start reading it. Peter says some of what Paul--yeah, chapter 3:15. "An account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation as also our beloved brother, Paul, according to the wisdom given unto him has written to you." Paul has written. As also in all his epistles. "He's written in his epistles in them of these things which are some things that are hard to be understood and those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction as they do the rest of the Scriptures.

" Look at what he does. Peter compares the writings and epistles of Paul to the rest of the Scripture. Isn't that interesting? So even then, Peter recognized that while some of what Paul said was hard to understand, by the way it is still is, right? He said it's Scripture and people twist it as they do the other Scriptures. So all Scripture, the writings of the apostles and the prophets, the new and the old testament is given by inspiration of God. Of course, the book of Revelation, the end of the Bible says if any man changes the words of this book, takes away from 'em, his name will be taken away from the book of life.

If he adds to 'em, to him will be added the plagues. And I'm paraphrasing there. I want to be careful to mention that especially since I'm talking about the curse for changing things. But so the Scriptures are the bottom line of how God reveal himself to us. What is the principle message of the Scriptures? Principle message, "in them you think you have everlasting life.

These are they," John 5, "that testify of me." In Luke I believe it's chapter 24 when Jesus rose and he appears to the two disciples on the road to emmaus. And he said, "oh fools, and slow of heart to believe all the prophets that had spoken." And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself. The Scriptures are how does the book of Revelation begin? Revelation of saint John, that's the title that man gave it. It's called the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The Bible is a Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is pictured in Joseph being sold by his brothers. Jesus is being pictured in Abraham taking Isaac up the mountain. Jesus is being pictured when David is rejected by his family because he's too young and yet he conquers the giant with a stone. And all through the old testament you see these pictures, Samson stretching out his arms and laying down his life to save God's people from their enemies, pictures of Jesus everywhere in the Bible. And so the Bible is principally a Revelation of Christ.

the Lord reveals himself to us through His Word. In the book "my life today" written by e.g. White page 26, and this is in your lesson. "As we contemplate the great things of God's Word, we look into a fountain that broadens and deepens beneath our gaze. Its breadth and depth pass our knowledge.

As we gaze, the vision widens. It stretches out before us. We behold a boundless, shoreless sea. Such study has vivifying power. The mind and heart acquire new strength, new life.

This experience is the highest evidence of the divine authorship of the Bible." I'm gonna pause here before I finish this. What she's saying is reading the Bible, it's transforming power, the way it broadens the mind in itself, is evidence that it is not like other books. How many times have you heard stories? This is my story of people who are virtually atheist or agnostic. Their lives are just going down the road to destruction and then they start reading the Bible and it just dramatically transforms them unlike reading any other book, transforms them for good. And so the Bible, the evidence of it being a Revelation of God is in the way it changes lives.

It is unlike any other book. "This experience is the highest evidence of the divine authorship of the Bible. We receive God's Word as food for the soul through the same evidences by which we receive bread for food for the body. Man doesn't live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." And so this is, the Word of God, it's the primary way for God to speak to us. Now I'm gonna go back through some of the other points that we mentioned about how does the Lord reveal himself? It's not in your lesson, but I put in providence.

Lesson only has 5 days so they don't necessarily have room to cover everything. But does God speak to us through things that happen providentially? When you read the book of Esther, how many times in the book of Esther do you find the word "Bible?" Not at all. How many times in the word Esther--or in the book of Esther do you find the word "Scripture?" How about the word "God" or "Lord?" It's not in the book of Esther. Does the Lord reveal himself in the book of Esther? What is the principle way he reveals himself? Through providence. Look at all the incredible providence.

How providential is it that the very moment that haman is coming to the King to ask for the life of mordecai to have him hung from the gallows at that night the King can't sleep and he asks the Chronicles to be read to him. And in the Chronicles he remembers that mordecai saved his life and he hasn't rewarded him. Just as haman walks through the door the King says, "what shall I do for the man whom the King delights to honor?" That's the providence of God sparing his life that very moment. And at the very moment that the King walks back in after Esther said, "save my people," that's the moment that haman has fallen upon the queen and it looks bad. And the King says, "what? Will you force the queen in my presence?" Well, he wasn't doing that but he was overwhelmed with pleading for his life.

It looked funny. And you just go through the whole book, it's filled with providence of miracles, how God delivered his people providentially. Have you ever missed the plane or some appointment and you're grumbling and kicking the dirt and then you're on the next flight and you're sitting next to a person who all of a sudden starts asking you all these questions about the Bible? And before that plane lands, you thank the Lord that you missed your first flight because you know that God wanted you on that second flight. And I've had a lot of experiences like that. I won't be tedious but relating them all to you but just many, many times I've seen the providence of God, and he arranges these appointments.

And sometimes it's a light that you miss while you're driving and you think, "oh, I missed that light and now I've gotta wait another 30 seconds for the light to change." And then you see the next intersection there's a collision, and you realize "I would have been in that collision if I had run the light while it was yellow." Providence. We're surrounded with this evidence of God and people call it coincidence. Is there really any--if God is all powerful, is there any such thing as coincidence? No. You can see the--and you and I say "good luck." I mean you know we mean it as a kind gesture but if you really analyze that, is there such thing as luck? There's a Scripture Solomon says in Ecclesiastes, "time and chance happens to all." That means that sometimes, you know, just things happen and it doesn't mean that God necessarily made something happen. Sometimes it's 'cause there's just a war of good and evil, and--how do you say it? There are casualties of war.

But I don't believe in luck. I believe that God is on the throne and he is all sovereign. So he speaks to us through providence. You can probably tell a hundred stories you can think of of how God has spoken to you through amazing providence or he's preserved you through providence or he's guided you through providence. God reveals himself through nature.

That's another section. We got a verse here Psalms 19:1-4. Many of you've heard this before. This is one of the Psalms of David. Keep in mind, of the 150 Psalms, they're not all David's but this is in the category of David's Psalms.

And when you read this, think about a shepherd boy who spent hundreds of nights laying out on perfectly clear fields where he could see the star-lit skies. Go ahead please. "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day unto day utters speech and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.

Their line has gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. In them, he has set a tabernacle for the sun." You know just a couple of weeks ago, it's been probably a month ago now, I delivered a message about: is there life on other planets? Is there life on other planets? It was fun preparing that because I did a little astronomical research and called my friend jim burr back there in Colorado and got some information from him. There was a news report from cnn July 23, 2003 it says, "have you ever wanted to wish upon a star? Well, you've got thousand million, million, million to choose from." They said, "that's the total number of stars in the known universe, known, emphasis, known universe. According to a study by australian astronomers, it's also about ten times as many stars--there are about ten times--listen to this, "there are about ten times as many stars as there are grains of sand on all the beaches of the world. That's like the figure 7 followed by 22 zeros or more accurately 70 sextillion.

" This was calculated by a team of astronomers in australia. Of course they're probably looking up at the southern sky we don't ever get to see. But you think about, wait, wait, wait, those are just the--we have our one star and our one star has nine planets, of course that's still up for debate depending on what they want to do with pluto, and hundreds of moons. Some of these suns that out there, these stars that are out there could have thousands of planets conceivably. And all we're talking about is the stars that we can see.

And so you think about how big the universe is. God has got to be so big, he's so awesome. We sometimes use the word "awesome." We've sort of worn certain words out so they don't have the meaning they should have like you know we say, jumbo. And you know where the word "jumbo" comes from. It comes from an elephant that p.

t. Barnum brought over from africa that was much bigger than the average african elephant, and it came to be the word for anything that is super sized. And but now jumbo applies to, you know, soft drinks and everything else. And so we--kids a few years ago, everything was "awesome, dude." Everything was awesome, awesome, awesome. Everything was awesome.

"Oh man, these french fries are awesome." And so when you say, "awesome God" it's almost not good enough anymore, but we've run out of words to use to describe the awesomeness. You know the word "awe" means in worship of how enormous eternal God is. It's incomprehensible for us. God is past finding out. Who by studying can know God? He's so big.

And so when you look at nature, this week I've got some relatives that periodically send me these, you know, they're little powerpoint programs. They send it to you and you view this slide show of beautiful things. You know what I mean? Sometimes you get these e-mails. It's a little slide show you click on it. It kind of plays for you.

And just this week they sent me one for easter, and it was just cactus flowers. I don't know if some of you saw it. There must have been 50 of them in there. Each one of them were exquisitely photographed. These cactus that normally kind of look foreboding and menacing with their thorns and their prickly stickers, and then coming out of them were the most gorgeous, delicate saffron flowers all different.

There were pinks and there were yellows and there were purples and there were reds and there were some one single big ones that exploded and then there were little bouquets of them coming out of one cactus. And you looked at it and just one slide after another, you went "oh, whoo, wow." And you see all that and you go, there has to be a God that would make something so thorny so pretty at the same time. And then you look in nature at these creatures that mimic each other. Who taught this spider to look like an orchard so he can sit on orchard that he looks like and catch the ants that come by or the other critters that come by? Who taught this moth to mimic a humming bird? Looks just like a humming bird, but it's a moth. And then there are wasps that crawl around.

They hide their wings and they look just look ants so they can catch ants but they're really wasps. And especially if you go underneath the ocean. You ever seen all the different shapes an octopus can take? An octopus can look just like the sea floor it's on. Within seconds, fractions of a second, it can change its color and look like the bumpy coral. The same color as the coral.

It's got cells that it can change the color of its skin, much better than a chameleon, instantly so that it disappears into coral it's on. It'll go to a different sea floor where it's got seaweed. It'll look like seaweed. It can change its shape and swim like a fish. It can hide behind a seashell, stick one tentacle around, wiggle it like a worm to try to catch--oh, you know what they do, they'll go inside an abandon sea shell, octopus.

They will open and close the shell like a clam, slowly breathing. They'll stick one little tentacle out like a worm so a fish will come by and then they grab it. It only took 50 zillion years for that to evolve. Ya hope--you know I'm kidding. I mean there's so many miracles in nature that, does God reveal himself to us in nature? You know that was another thing that worked on me, not only the Word of God but at the same time I was reading the Word of God I was living out in the wilderness and you're surrounded by all these miracles that you see.

You look very closely with a microscope or if you look through a telescope, the closer you look at what God made, the more perfection you see, the more mystery you see. And you know the bottom line is the more evidence you see of a supernatural genius that made these things. Its could not happen haphazardly. And you've often heard the expression before that, you know, if you look at a laptop computer and all that it does and somebody were try to convince you that that laptop computer, it grew out of a mountain of silicon sand eventually developed into a silicon micro processor and you know with all the transistors and-- that'd be absurd. You'd be called an imbecile.

You'd be called an imbecile for trying to get someone else to believe that. But what is more complex, a laptop computer or a human being who makes a laptop computer? And yet, there are people out there that we'd like to think they're intelligent and they're saying that all of the incredibly complex design and sophistication inner working systems in a human body happen by accident. Think about the eye. To me, that's--if I was gonna go into medicine, that would be one area that I could probably handle is working on the human eye. It's such a miracle how you take in light in images and how quickly it can focus and adjust and recognize.

You ever been looking for something on the ground? And I say here's a picture of what you're looking for. It's a key. Matter of fact we were up in the hills, just to give you an example of what I'm talking about. We were up in the hills. You ever set a master lock? When you have a brand-new master lock, they give you a key about this big to first set the combination.

We're up in the woods, there's dirt and leaves on the ground and when we open up the master box thing--i was there with nathan and a friend. We were setting the gate and lock, the key fell out. I said, oh, we gotta set this, I don't know how, unless we want to leave the combination zero, zero, zero. And so we're all looking around, we can't find it. And I found a picture on the box, it said, "here's what it looks like.

" And nathan looked at it he said, "oh, now that I know what I'm looking for." And then as soon as he put his eyes down, he was able to find it. Because the eye is trained for a certain shape and in all that confusion in the variegated freckles and colors on the ground, found it. It's a miracle how the eye works. You know what I'm talking about, right? Once he knew what he was looking for amidst all the confusion, his eye was able to identify it. It's a miracle, the eye.

And they say everything you look at, it's really upside down. You've heard that. The pictures are coming into your brain all upside down. You train your brain to turn it right side up. Do you know that if you put glasses on a person that turn everything upside down it will, of course, drive them crazy for about a week but eventually they will compensate and in their mind they will see everything right side up pretty soon.

I used to do--i don't want to take this to long, but it's just varying out my point of the incredible way the mind works and God in nature. For years I did evangelism where I used rear-screen projection with slides and some still use rear screen when there's a group. And I go through my program and I sometimes have to flip the sides around, change slides, and I always sat back there with the projectors which means I always had to look at the screen and read everything backwards. I became very good at reading backwards, and I forget where we were just not too long ago. Oh, we were inside like a subway with the boys and it had a sign on the front of the window, but it kind of--it was see-through.

And I said, I can read that sign, boys. How do you do that? I said, well, I just read the whole sign real quick backwards. I said, well, it's because i-- my brain has learned how to read backwards. And I've met people before that with both hands they could write at the same time forwards and backwards the same words going out like that... It's incredible what the human brain can do.

Now I'm just talking about people. Look at all the other miracles in nature to tell us about God. And this time of year you know it's springtime when you see all the new life coming from what looked like was dead, things just exploding with color and life and, can you see God in nature? Does he reveal himself to us that way? Even the pagans recognize this, Romans 1:18-20. Just wondering, did I give that to somebody? I don't remember. Romans 1:18-20.

Okay, let me read that. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unGodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppressed the truth and unrighteousness." Why? "Because what may be known of God is manifest in them for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes--" there are things about God that are invisible. We can't see. "His invisible attributes are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made.

" There's a lot about God we can't see that's invisible, but it can be clearly seen through the things that are made. So when people say, "I can't see God. Prove there's a God." Oh, I can see God. And you've heard that analogy before that from Daniel defoe's book "robinson crusoe." When robinson was living on the island for a long time by himself, small island. He knew the island well and then one day walking up the beach, he saw a set of footprints and they weren't his feet.

That's all he needed to do was see one set of footprints and he knew someone else was on the island. One footprint told him that, not his footprint. Do we see the footprints of God in nature all around the world? Do we know we're not alone? A lot of people recognize that. In every isolated pagan culture in the world believes there's a God because they see the evidence in nature. And this is what Paul was saying.

The strange thing is the more supposedly sophisticated and educated we get, the more we begin to deny the evidence of God in nature and say, "well, you can't prove it." "So for since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made, even his internal power and Godhead so they are without excuse." So even people in pagan countries who never heard the name of Jesus, has God spoken to them? Has God revealed himself to them? He has and he expects them to live up to the light that they have. He's revealed himself to them through the things that they've seen. Now the problem is some countries start to worship the creation instead of the creator, and that is another pitfall that people fall into. The book of job 12:7. I'm taking a little more time with this.

We got a hand back here. You got a microphone? Job 12:7, read through verse 9, David. "But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath done this?" Did the donkey recognize the angel, balaam's donkey? Yeah. Did the ravens listen to the Lord when they were told to feed Elijah? And the quail came when they were told to come? I mean the animals, did the whale listen to God when it swallowed Jonah? And did the worm in the gourd listen to God? Everybody in the story of Jonah listens to God in nature but Jonah, isn't that interesting? It's true.

Even the pagans listened in the book of Jonah, just Jonah doesn't listen. From the book "adventist home," page 144, "God has surrounded us with nature's beautiful scenery in order to attract and interest the mind. Is his design that we should associate the glories of nature with his character. If we faithfully study the book of nature, we will find a fruitful source of contemplating the infinite love of God." Now I always feel conflicted when I talk about this. Then I'll honestly be done talking about nature, but for a pastor like myself who lives in the capital of California, when I talk about country living, it almost sounds like I'm a hypocrite because here I am trying to grow a church in a city and preach myself out of a job by telling you you'll be closer to God in the country.

I don't ever recommend that people do anything rash, and it depends on your circumstances and you have to pray about that, but you are a lot closer to God in the country than in the city. It's very simple, you are influenced by your environment. When you are surrounded by the things that God made, that will influence you by the creator. When you're surrounded by the things that man made, it's something of an artificial influence. You will be better off physically, probably you'll have cleaner air, probably have less modern convenience meaning you'll get more exercise.

I mean there's so many advantages that you can't list them all. But God came into the world to save people. Now, where are most of the people? In the city, so we must not neglect the work where the people are. You know the ministry of Christ is divided between the country and the city. And if you read in Matthew 9:35 it says, and Jesus went throughout all the villages in the cities, country, city, preaching in their synagogues, teaching, casting out devils, healing all that were afflicted.

So Jesus went to both places. Praise the Lord we have a place up in the hills. We were there last week and I tell you it sure is nice. And a verse came to my mind because you drive through these developments in the city where you can just about jump from roof to roof in some of these housing developments. You know what I mean? If there wasn't a wall there, you could spit out your window and you'd have to go wash your neighbor's window.

No, don't try that, but that's just a crude way of my illustrating how close together the houses are. And I thought of this verse Isaiah 5:8. Maybe I gave it to someone, I don't know. "Woe to those who join house to house, they add field to field, till there is no place where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land." Did God want us to be able to have some space alone? Do we all need to have a little mountaintop where we can go to and pray? Did Jesus do that? If you read about the story of Enoch, it's important that you have a place you can go where you can be alone. And the best thing is if you can take some time occasionally and be alone in God's creation.

When the people said, "let's build a tower" in Genesis 11, "lest we are scattered cross the face of the earth," was God happy with the idea they were all gonna conglomerate in one spot or was the Lord displeased? What did God tell adam to do and eve to do? Adam and eve, he said, be fruitful, go forth and fill the earth. They were to scatter. They were to disperse. And so you know, God wants us all to take time. I'm so glad in North America we've got national parks.

You've got someplace that they can't develop, but you can get out there just for nature. And we take all of our afcoe students, every afcoe class, we take them to yosemite. It's a shame some of them come from other countries to come all the way to California not go look at yosemite. I lived here 50 years before I made my first trip, and I was born here. Isn't that sad? But so you need to get out there and just see the majesty of God in the big and small things that he made.

All right, I've run out of time talking about creation. God speaks through our conscience. Now this is a difficult one because some people misread their conscience. You can also damage your conscience and get false information, but God does speak to us through our conscience. Corinthians 4:4, does somebody have that verse? Corinthians 4:4.

"For I know nothing by myself yet, I am not hereby justified but he that judgeth me is the Lord." So we don't know anything by our self, but it's the Lord who Judges us. We need God to speak to our hearts on the inside. And Romans 2:15 it says, "who show the work of the law written in their hearts." The law of God written in their hearts, "their conscience also bearing witness." Now the primary thing is the word. What the word says you hope is confirmed by your conscience. "Bearing witness between themselves their thoughts accusing or excusing them.

" You ever been accused by your thoughts? You ever have your conscience accuse you? How many of you remember those paintings or comics where someone's making decision. You still see them today and their trying to decide what to do and they've got an angel on one shoulder and they got a devil on the other shoulder and one is saying, "no, don't do it." The other is saying, "nah, do it." You know and it's--that sort of, how many of you have felt that inside before, that tug-of-war between these two forces? Everybody has that. You know, you can read in Genesis 42:20, and this is talking about Joseph's experience. And he said, "bring your younger brother to me so Your Words will be verified and you'll not die. And they did so and they said to one another--" right here in Joseph's presence, he's listening.

"We are truly guilty concerning our brother for we saw his anguish of soul when he pleaded with us and we would not hear, therefore this distress has come upon us." Many years after they had sold and betrayed their brother, they're tormented in their conscience and they're going through this terrible trial and they say, "God is punishing us 'cause of what we did to Joseph." And it had been bothering their conscience for years. They could hear those echoes of their brothers saying, "don't sell me. Please save me. Forgive me, don't do this." And they stopped their ears and they sold their brother, and they could hear that for years. Now Joseph is hearing them articulate their conscience in agony and that made him want to go out and cry.

He could see that they were remorseful. Well, when we repent, it's to express the remorse in our conscience. There's a danger in the last days, people will not have a conscience anymore. You remember when Jesus had the woman caught in the act of adultery? John 8, and they're ready to stone her, they said, "man, master this woman was caught in the very act of adultery and the law says she should be stoned, but what do you say?" And they thought they had Jesus between a rock and a hard place, pardon the pun. And he said, "he that is without sin among you, let him cast the first rock.

" And they became convicted because they all said, "I can't throw the first stone. Everyone's gonna look at me and say, 'oh, so you are without sin?'" And you can read here it says, "those who heard it," this is John 8:8, "being convicted by their conscience." Were these good men or bad men? They're bad men. I mean they're trying to attack, they're trying to trap Jesus. These are not typically good men, but did they still have a conscience? So can a bad person still have a conscience? Yeah, you can get to the place where you have no conscience at all. Don't forget that.

"Beginning at the eldest even to the last and Jesus was left alone in the midst with the woman." All right, now we're gonna read Timothy 4:1-2. Go ahead. "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies and hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron." Having your conscience seared. Have any of you ever been badly burned? In the area where you were badly burned it kilned the nerves and you don't feel? The nerves are dead. Or maybe you've been cut badly, scarred and in that area to this day, when I lived up in the hills, right here you can't see it.

I was sharpening a stick, young and dumb, and I cut towards myself and I cut right down to the bone here with a very sharp knife by myself up in the hills. I sewed it up myself and to this day, I don't really feel it. You get used to it after a while, but I'm often banging this and not realizing but it's the nerves are all dead here. Well, that's what happens. Some people through injury, if you continue to injure and to neglect your conscience, you can scar it so it doesn't feel anymore.

It becomes callous. It's like the ear on your conscience grows deaf because the Holy Spirit yelled so often. It's like that person who lives by the airport or the train track, you get so accustomed to the roar that pretty soon you're talking to some friends, the whole house is shaking from the train going by or the jet taking off. And they said, "boy, how do you live with that?" And you go, "live with what? Oh, that? I don't even hear it anymore." Some people have done that to their conscience because they continue to violate their conscience in the same area, and that's how you get to the place where you eventually grieve away the Holy Spirit. Searing the conscience, very dangerous.

I've met people before that the Word of God will say, "do not do this" and they'll come to me and they'll say, "well, you know but in my heart I think it's okay because you know I've got peace about it now." What happens they just did the wrong thing so long they seared their conscience. If we continue to sin willfully, if we continue to reject the truth, God will allow us to believe a lie, and we'll get to the place where our conscience-- oh, doesn't bother us. Some people receive the Mark of the beast in their head. They really believe it. Others get in their hand.

They don't believe it, they just do it. So we've got to protect our conscience. The care and feeding of your conscience, I got a sermon on that. Gotta take care of your conscience, you don't want to scar it. It guides you.

God speaks through prophets. Now a prophet is a person who speaks by divine inspiration or as the interpreter through whom the will of God is expressed. You can see how prophets work when you read the first few verses in Revelation. God speaks to Christ who speaks to his angel who speaks to John who speaks to the people. The prophet is the earthly link of divine communication between God and the people.

And you know I'm not taking a lot of time on this because we just finished our whole quarter dealing with the gift of prophecy, our last quarter's lesson was talking about that and then it gives the example of Moses in the Bible there. Amos 3:7, "surely the Lord God does nothing unless he reveals his secret to his servants, the prophets." The reason I'm rushing through that is 'cause we covered it. I don't want to end the lesson without talking about the best Revelation. What did I leave out? Jesus. God is revealed through Jesus.

John 14:8-9, who has that for me? "Philip said to him, 'Lord, show us The Father and it is sufficient for us.' Jesus said to him, 'have I been with you so long and yet you have not known me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen The Father, so how can you say: show us The Father?'" What Jesus is saying before the new testament is written that if you want to see what God is like, I am the expression of God. Same God. Old and new testament. Many times, most of the time, the God that's communicating in the old testament is God communicating through Christ. He is the God you're seeing in the old testament.

And I never could understand when people say, "oh, the old testament, it's full of wrath and vengeance and war. The new testament is love and mercy and forgiveness." And yet, you've got so much mercy and love in the old testament and you've got the seven last plagues in the-- I mean the old testament's got a lot of mercy and love and forgiveness. The new testament's got seven last plagues and the wrath of God and let him be a curse. It's the new testament too. Jesus says, "the worm does not die and the fire's not quenched," new testament.

So I mean I don't know why people say that. It's just I think they're spot reading in the Bible. It's the same God all through the Bible. You can see the mercy and the justice of God from Genesis all the way to Revelation. Christ is the perfect Revelation of God.

The word became flesh and dwelt among us. We don't know what Jesus looked like. He doesn't want us making idols. Nothing is said about his physical appearance. The reason he changed the world is by what he said.

He is the Word of God expressed to us. And that's probably a good place for us to close and remind our friends we have a special offer that says more about this, it's free if you call the toll-free number. For our friends on the radio, you can't see the screen. It's 866-788-3966, and it's "down from his glory," offer number 154. And you can also go to the Amazing Facts website.

Just amazingfacts.org or amazingfacts.com, .net will get you there. And we're out of time. God bless you 'til we have this opportunity to study again next Sabbath.

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