Old Testament Faith - 2017

Scripture: Galatians 3:13, Romans 1:2, Genesis 15:6
Date: 07/29/2017 
Lesson: 5
"From start to finish in the Christian life, the basis of our salvation is faith in Christ alone. The only reason we are not condemned for our mistakes is that Jesus paid the price for our sins by dying in our place."
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Hello friends, welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour coming to you here from the Granite Bay seventh-day adventist church near a very warm Sacramento. I'd like to welcome our online members and also those joining us across the country and around the world on the various television networks and also on Facebook and some of the other outlets. And, again, I want to welcome our members and visitors right here in Granite Bay. A very warm welcome to all of you - good to see you here this morning. We've been studying through our lesson quarterly on the book of Galatians.

Today we find ourselves on lesson #5 entitled old testament faith - that'll be the theme of our study this morning. For our friends online, if you'd like to follow along with us and you don't have a copy of the lesson, you can download today's lesson by just going to the Amazing Facts website - it's just amazingfacts.org. We have a free offer that goes along with our study today, a book written by Joe Crews - three steps to heaven - this is the free offer for today. If you'd like to receive this book, give us a call on our resource phone number. It's 866-788-3966 - and you can ask for offer #102.

Outside of North America you can read the book for free by just going to the Amazing Facts website - just amazingfacts.org. Well, before we get to our lesson, we always like to start by lifting our voices in song. I'd like to invite The Song leaders to come and lead us this morning. Thank you, Pastor Ross, and we are ready to sing with you around the world. We're going to do one of our favorites and I know it's one of yours - #12 - joyful, joyful we adore thee - and we will do all three stanzas of #12.

Thank you for singing along with us and, at this time, Pastor Ross will have our opening prayer. (Soft piano music) let's bow our heads for prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for another beautiful Sabbath where we can gather together to open up Your Word and study. We're looking at a very important subject. We're looking at faith as revealed in the Bible as revealed in the old testament and the new.

So we ask for your special leading of your Holy Spirit. Guide us, Lord, into a clearer, fuller understanding of that very important experience of knowing you day by day, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson today is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug. Thank you, Pastor Ross, and our singers and musicians. Morning, friends.

Good morning. Those of you gathered here at Granite Bay, we're very glad to have you here. I want to welcome those of you who are watching via the internet or satellite. We know we have a whole new group of people that are watching via Facebook live. We checked the stats the last couple weeks and we've had over 2 - 300,000 people that either link on it or pass it on to somebody else, so I want you to all look as friendly as possible in case we get any audience shots, okay? (There are) a lot of people that are studying with us.

And we want to welcome those who are some of our online Granite Bay members. We have people around the world who have no local church, for some reason, that they can worship with and we have a process where we can vote you in and have you be one of our online members. If you want to no more about that, just e-mail us there at the Granite Bay sda church website and we'll tell you more about that. Going through our study of Galatians, today we're on lesson #5 that deals with old testament faith, and our memory verse is Galatians 3, verse 13 - this is the english standard version - Galatians 3, verse 13 - if you want to say this with me, I appreciate it. Ready? "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us - for it is written, 'cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.

'" And, of course, it says two times in the book of acts that when Jesus was crucified, it says, 'on the tree'. We always use the term 'the cross' but there was very little that separated those ancient crosses from just a rudimentary tree that was cut into a couple of sections. And so, they basically said it that way. Another reason they say 'crucified on' or 'hanged on a tree' is because sometimes the Romans would crucify a person on a tree without even uprooting the tree. And then, if you read in the book of Judges, some of the Kings that they fought against they killed by hanging on a tree.

That's why it's quoting that when it says 'cursed is everyone that is hanged upon a tree'. Jesus dying on a cross took that curse for us. Well, you know, our assignment today - let me tell you what we want to do is we, today, have the assignment of reading Galatians chapter 3, verses 1 through 14 - that's the passage we want to study. So I thought, it's not that big. Why don't we just read through it then let's back up.

Get it all in context, then we'll back up and we'll study it together. So go with me in your Bibles to Galatians chapter 3 and I'm just going to read verses 1 through and if you fast and pray, I will try to do it without making a comment the first time around. It's going to be hard though. "O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain-if indeed it was in vain? Therefore he who supplies the spirit to you and works miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? - Just as Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "in you all the nations shall be blessed.

" So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them." Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Alright, that's our passage. Now I can breath. Let me back up and just review, because if we just take a - just dive in here - there are always people who are, maybe, here or who are studying out there with us that didn't get, sort of, the preamble to what's happening here in Galatians, you need to know the background. Galatia there - asia minor - named after the gauls - they spoke a gaul-like language and also spoke Greek.

They had been subdued by the Romans before the time of Christ, but they sort of had their own province - they were gentiles. They worshiped pagan Gods. They had a lot of debasing things they did in their worship. Paul went up and preached to them salvation. They accepted it based on, you know, what the gentiles needed to know.

He did not talk about, 'now you need to be circumcised' and 'you need to keep the ceremonial feast days' and he did not, you know, talk about 'you have to sacrifice lambs'. He talked about the basics that a gentile needs to know to accept the Gospel. That had been debated and clarified in acts chapter 15. After - and the church grew - it took off - hundreds believed. But then, after Paul leaves, some devout - maybe well-meaning - Jewish Christians came up from Jerusalem and began to say, 'how come you're not keeping the feast days?' 'I understand you're not circumcising your male children.

' And they began to start telling them - and they showed it to them in the Bible and they said, 'oh, it's in the Bible.' And they started getting all bogged down with the laws and the rites and the ceremonial washings that the pharisees prescribed. And the joy that they had earlier, they'd lost it. Paul got word of this and so he, no holds barred, he writes a letter that is probably one of the strongest letters that you find in the Bible. Now how would you like it if someone writes you a letter and says, 'oh, foolish Granite Bay people'? - (Laughter) - 'who has mesmerized you? How can you be so foolish?' And the word for fool there, it's even stronger than our english translation for fool, it's 'imbeciles' - 'idiots' - you even hate saying that in church. But that's what he's saying.

He said, 'what in the world came over you that you've fallen for this?' But have you seen this happen to churches before? Where they're growing in the spirit, they accept Jesus, they're motivated by love, they're sharing the Gospel, it's spreading, and, all of a sudden they get distracted with some legalistic cul-de-sac. Have you seen that? And there's no limit to them. I remember once, when I was living in Texas years ago, I was in some Bible study group and we were growing in the Spirit and everything was great and someone came along and they started saying that we needed to - the men needed to all grow beards. That, if you did not have a beard - and they quoted the verse - they went to the old testament that said that you shall not cut the corners of your beard. And I was a young Christian and I thought, 'oh, it's in the Bible, you know, I don't want to miss out on anything because I'm supposed to be doing this.

' And it was amazing to me that I got into a whole Bible study on beards and I went through the Bible and I read everything I could on beards. You'll be happy to know, I discovered, as you can see from looking at me, you don't have to have a beard to be saved. (Laughter) but, matter of fact, the word 'beard' does not appear in the new testament, you'll be happy to know. And then it talks about, you know, Joseph shaved himself and mephiobsheth trimmed his mustache and - anyway, I got into the nitty gritty of beard study - man's facial hair. Can you imagine that you could get so wrapped up in all that? Well, that's what happens.

It just became a big diversion. And this is what was going on. They'd stop spreading the Gospel. They were studying all these things now and Paul was saying, 'what happened to you? How could you get so distracted? So I've seen that happen many different ways. It disguises itself in many different forms, where people can get so bogged down in some diversionary study, that they miss the Gospel.

And so, Paul was broken hearted. And so, he came down on them pretty hard. Now, you know, when you have different children, they respond different ways to different kinds of discipline. What you might say to one child, you might not say to another child, because they'll react in a totally rebellious way. You come down strong on one child and it'll break them and they'll humble themselves.

Paul knew this is what the Galatians needed. It doesn't mean that you're supposed to start writing letters and calling everyone a fool. Paul knew that he knew this church, he knew how they would operate, he knew the elders and leaders there, and he knew what he needed for them. And so, just keep that in mind. So let's go ahead and we'll get into the first section here - this is just a little background of what was going on.

And so, when he says 'foolish' - first of all, doesn't Jesus say, somewhere in the sermon on the mount, 'don't call anybody a fool'? Well, that word that Jesus used and the word here, I think, are two different words. And, the word that Jesus used - did Jesus ever call anyone a fool? In Luke, remember, he told the disciples, 'o fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken'? And, when the disciples were in the boat and he said, 'o foolish ones, where is your faith?' And so you can think of oh, maybe three, four times, where Jesus turned to the apostles and he called them foolish. And so when Jesus said, 'don't call any man a fool or you're in danger of hellfire, that word that he used there means 'don't tell anyone they're worthless'. And so, it's a little different. And so, you might wonder when you see that, you know, is that appropriate or not? But - so he says there, 'o foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?' Now, when someone is bewitched it's a little different than being mesmerized.

You can drive down the road and, in some parts of the country, the roads are paved with concrete and they pour it in sections and, as - it's because it gets so cold that if they're asphalt, they crack under the heat and the cold. So they pour concrete roads. But with concrete, because it expands and contracts, you have to have sections. And so, as you're driving down these concrete interstates, you'll be hearing 'kachunk, kachunk, kachunk, kachunk' - you know what I'm talking about? As the tires go over the little lines in the road. Now, if you do that with your windshield wipers on, you might get 'shlop, clop, dung, chunk, shlop, clop, dung, chunk, clop, clop, dung, clunk' - and it can put you to sleep.

It can put you in a hypnotic trance. And I have been going down the road before where I went completely by my turn off. I was so embarrassed one time, I was with bonnie - she's sitting here - and Karen and we're on our way to the airport to catch a flight and we're a little late - I'm already frustrated, but I got mesmerized by something and I went right past the airport exit. Now, those of you in Sacramento, do you know what happens if you miss the exit to the airport? (Laughter) you have to go to woodland. (Laughter) you know what I'm talking about? Before you can turn - you have to drive all the way across that - that causeway and - oh, I was already late - and I had two women in the car reminding me that I missed my turn.

That was the worst part of all. But I was mesmerized by something. But you're not guilty - when you're mesmerized - I mean, it can happen - you can be tired, you could be distracted. Bewitched is different. It is a satanic spell and so he's, basically, not only saying 'what distracted you?', He's saying, 'you've been possessed.

What kind of satanic spell has been cast upon you that you would miss the simplicity of the Gospel and get caught up in this works-oriented form of the Gospel?' Now, do not think that what Paul is saying - when someone is talking about salvation by faith and not by works, what book do they go to? Galatians, often - they go to Galatians. When someone is trying to say that we're not under the law but we're under faith, where do they go? They go to Galatians. Before you forget that, go with me to Galatians 5. This may come up in our later message today - verse 22 - no, I want to back up - verse 17 - no, I want to go to verse 16 - I love all the Word of God - "I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law." - That's very important - "now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry," - he's citing things that would mean breaking the law. He calls them works of the flesh. Paul says that the works of the flesh are breaking the law. Some people think, 'well, I'm spirit minded; that means I can break the law.' Paul says, 'no, if you're breaking the law, those are the works of the flesh. You're flesh-minded.

' You see what I'm saying? "Idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past," - don't miss this - "that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God." Paul is saying if you are living a life of sin, if you are living a life of lawlessness, you will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Don't ever try to use Galatians to say that Paul supports lawlessness. He does not. He's saying that you must be spirit led and if you are spirit led you will keep the law. Amen.

But to just be focused on the law, you're going to miss the whole idea of the Spirit and the love that mobilizes us. Alright, so, in - we read Galatians chapter 3, verse 1, "...who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth," - does the truth require obedience? Does faith require obedience? - "Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you" - now the word 'portrayed' he uses there is like - even back in Bible times they would make a billboard and they would put up a big sign announcing some new state event or something that was happening, and they'd have roadside signs. Even above Jesus' head, did they have a sign? A placard was there. A billboard was even bigger. He's saying that Jesus was portrayed - he's saying, 'I clearly put up a billboard explaining that we are saved by faith in the cross.

How come you're now thinking we are saved by circumcision?' Again, I want to repeat - I said way too much about this in an earlier study, but I just want to make it clear - the principle issue of argument in Galatians is not the Sabbath. People talking about law and faith always are arguing against the Sabbath. Sabbath does not appear - the word - in Galatians. What was the principle argument about? What law? Circumcision. That was the big argument.

So the people who came from Jerusalem were arguing the gentiles needed to be circumcised. That'd already been settled: they did not. So - just want to make sure that that's clear. "...clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" You know, Revelation describes what had happened to the Galatians: they had lost their first love and, instead of being motivated by love for God, it now became 'I've got to do this' and 'I've got to do that.' 'Are you doing this?' And 'are you doing that?' Instead of 'are you believing that you can be forgiven for your life of sin. And so, he's calling them foolish.

And, by the way, that verse that I was telling you about earlier, Matthew 5:22, "but I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'raca!' Shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'you fool!' Shall be in danger of hell fire." Go ahead, someone's going to read, for me, Luke 24:25 - I think I touched on it - you'll have that in just a moment? Let me read one more verse here. Matthew 23:17, "fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold?" And Matthew 23:23, Jesus is talking to the scribes and pharisees - "hypocrites!" He calls them fools. Look - I'll read one more - Luke - sorry, Luke 12:19, "and I will say to my soul, 'soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.

' But God said to him, 'fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'" - That's the parable of the man who builds the barn and wants the cram the barn with more things but he doesn't have room so he builds bigger barns so he can just live selfishly and God says, 'you're a fool.' Go ahead, read for us Luke 24:25. "Then he said to them, 'o foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?'" So, when Paul calls the Galatians fools, does he love them? Now when Jesus called the scribes and pharisees fools, some might argue, 'well, they were his enemies, they tried to kill him.' And when Jesus calls the barn builder a fool, well, that's a parable about a fool. And, of course, the Bible says 'the fool has said in his heart there is no God' - but the Galatians believe there is a God - they're church members. Then Jesus called the apostles fools. He did in this verse.

He's talking to cleopas and his companion that are on the road to emmaus. And so, you know, sometimes the Lord has to even tell those he loves. Romans 2:17, "indeed you are called a jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and know his will, and approve the things that are excEllent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes," - you know, the word 'fool' is often applied to children. Have you ever read that proverb 'foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child'? Anyone say 'amen' to that? You see kids playing with sharp objects and fire and, you know, they're just not really thinking very clearly. So when Paul calls the Galatians fools, he's speaking as he would to his children.

I just want you to know it's - he still loves them. He's not insulting them, okay? Corinthians 4, verses 4 and 5, "whose minds the God of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake." And so here, he's saying that the Gods of this age - who is the God of this age? Satan - the one whose principality and power and heavenly places had blinded them. Paul is saying, to the Galatians, 'you've been blinded. You've been mesmerized by the devil.

You've been distracted.' I'm going to preach a sermon - you watch for it. It's going to be called can I have your attention, please? Alright, we're going to read Galatians chapter 3, verse 6, "just as Abraham 'believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.'" Someone's going to read, for me, Romans 10:16 and 17 - you'll have that, kelly? Alright, I'm going to read Galatians - I'm going to read Romans 1, verse 2, "which he promised before through his prophets in the holy Scriptures," - so Paul - where does he appeal as his final authority for proving a point to the Galatians? To the Scriptures. How much new testament did Paul read? I heard someone say, once, 'if the King James version was good enough for Paul, it's good enough for me.' (Laughter) and, of course, he didn't have the king James version - he didn't read english. And Paul did not read the new testament because the new testament was not compiled. So all the apostles, when they appealed to Scripture, there's one place where Peter appeals to the writings of Paul and Jude appeals to the writings of Peter as Scripture, so they started to quote each other as Scripture, a little bit, but ninety-nine percent of the time, when they're referring to Scripture in the new testament, they're talking about the old testament.

Go ahead, read for me, please, Romans 10:16 and 17. "But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our report?' So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." So what is Paul saying, here in Romans, is the final arbiter? What is the final evidence? Where do you point to as the ultimate proof that something is true? Scripture. Did Jesus do that? You know, I understand that ten percent of what Jesus said, he was quoting from the old testament. And every time Jesus was tempted by the devil what did he say? 'It is written' - and where did he quote? Deuteronomy, in particular, but the old testament, right? And so, Jesus used - and, you know, I get - it always makes me sad.

I visit different churches and I'll see they sometimes supply a Bible for the members, and it's just the new testament. Sometimes it'll be a new testament and Psalms. Some of you remember, before we became hyper politically correct, in the military they used to give all the soldiers the new testament with Psalms. Does anyone remember that? I've still got my father's version from world war ii and they figured, well, we've got the Psalms for the Jewish people and we've got the new testament for the gentiles - for the Christians - and - but, no, I don't know if you can do that now. They were - I guess you can still get them, but it was military issue to everybody back then.

Okay, so he's saying here that the Scripture is where we get the evidence. Look in Galatians 3, verse 8, "and the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, 'in you all the nations shall be blessed.'" Now have you ever heard it said before - 'in the new testament we've got the dispensation of faith - in the old testament it was the dispensation of law' - or something like that? Have you heard that before? That now we are saved by grace through faith, but God had the law covenant with the jews - they were saved by law.' Was anybody ever saved by law? No. No. There may have been people in the old and new testaments that thought that, but what is Paul saying here? Isn't Paul saying that even Abraham, back in Genesis - that's about as far back as you can get in the old testament, believed he was saved by grace. He was saved by faith.

Do we have other Scriptures that say that? Romans 4:3, "for what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.'" Now, by the way, very important point - take your Bibles, go to the book of Genesis chapter 12. I want to look at this with you and then I want to bring out a point, if I may. You go to Genesis chapter 12 and here is this passage that we've referred to it already in prior studies, "now the Lord had said to abram: 'get out of your country, from you family and from your Father's houses, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

' So abram departed." Abraham went out not knowing where he went. He went out by faith. God accepts Abraham. He calls Abraham because Abraham is a jew. Was Abraham a jew? No.

After Abraham was circumcised, did he then become a jew? So when God called Abraham, was he circumcised? He called him from the gentiles and he accepted him by faith before he was circumcised. That is a very important point that Paul is making in Galatians. He's saying Abraham was saved by faith in God. It had nothing to do with circumcision, it had to do with believing. Abraham believed God, it was counted to him for righteousness before circumcision.

So when they show up from Jerusalem and they're telling the Galatians 'you all need to be circumcised to be saved, Paul's saying, 'now wait a second, we're going back to the same faith that saved Abraham.' And this is one of the central points in this lesson, is that we are saved by faith. Now, if we are saved by faith, does the law have any part of that? There's a - an interesting quote in the book steps to Christ - I think it's page 60, but don't quote me on that, you have to look it up. And it basically says - I'll paraphrase - that there're two errors against which a new believer in Christ needs to especially guard. One is the notion that we are saved by keeping of the law and anything we might do to save ourselves is going to be polluted by selfishness. Then she goes on to say, the other, no less dangerous notion is that, because we believe that we are released from an obligation to obey, which is equally dangerous.

But you are saved by faith alone, but if you are saved by faith alone, and you continue living, there will be a change seen in the life. Your faith will be seen, as James says, in your works. The thief on the cross who turned to Jesus and said, 'Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' And Jesus said, 'I am promising you today, you will be with me in paradise.' Was he saved? He was saved by faith in the cross. He looked at Jesus on the cross - he was saved. Was he saved by his works? Well, one work - the work of believing.

When they said to Jesus, 'how shall we work the works of God, Jesus said, 'this is the work of God, that you believe.' That sounds like Jesus is doing a play on words. He said, 'here's the work I want you to do: believe.' So the thief was not saved at all by works, he was saved entirely by looking to the cross in faith. That's a wonderful story. I'm so glad that's in Luke - you don't find it in John, you don't find it in Matthew, you don't find it in Mark. I'm so glad Luke talked about that thief that was saved entirely by faith for looking to Christ and believing.

I'm glad for the story of zaccheus, who, he saw Christ up in a tree - there's an analogy there somewhere - it was from the tree that the thief saw Jesus and I'm crucified with Christ. If I'm lifted up - Jesus said we are crucified with him. Zaccheus climbed a tree and he saw Jesus. We take up our cross and we see Jesus. Immediately, when he repents and confesses, God says, 'you are a child of Abraham.

' But I just pulled out a few references here that talk about the importance of faith. And, let me see, am I getting ahead of myself? Probably. I'm going to do it anyway. Genesis 15:6 - we just read Genesis 12 - "and he believed in the Lord, and he accounted it to him for righteousness." Righteousness by faith. Samuel 22:31, "as for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; he is a shield to all who trust" - or have faith - "in him.

" "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is in the Lord." That was Jeremiah 17:7. So I've just been reading old testament. Were they saved by works in the old testament or were they saved by faith? Faith. Nobody is going to get to heaven because of their works. So I've got a quiz for you.

Is anybody in heaven now? Yes. Who's there? Moses, Enoch - Enoch, Moses, Elijah - Jesus - Jesus - the people he raised. The people that were resurrected - Matthew 28 - with Jesus - that went to - the graves were opened around Jerusalem, some of them. Okay, but let's talk about Moses, Enoch, and Elijah. Is anyone in heaven going to say that 'I'm here based on my good works'? How do we get there? Faith.

Faith in what? Jesus. And his sacrifice on the cross. How could Moses, Elijah, and Enoch get to heaven before the cross? By faith. But Jesus hadn't died yet. They were saved by faith.

Any of you - you don't have to raise your hands - you ever ask for an advance on your paycheck? (Laughter) you ran out of money before you ran out of month and you asked for an advance. You get that advance based on work you have not done yet. Moses, Elijah, Enoch - they got to heaven based on a work Jesus had not done yet but prophecy said he would do. Wouldn't it have been terrible for them if Jesus had failed and the angel said, 'look, guys, I've got bad news.' (Laughter) 'you've got to leave heaven.' That would have been terrible. But they were not saved by their works.

Now the Bible says Enoch walked with God but he wasn't - it was a walk of faith, wasn't it? So when you go to Hebrews and it talks about Elijah and it talks about Moses, doesn't it talk about their faith? I don't know that it specifically talks about Enoch's - yeah it does - not there in Hebrews, but Moses, it says, was saved by faith. And so nobody in the old testament is saved by works - I just want that to be clear. Alright, let's keep going with our study here. Timothy 3:16 and 17, "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." - I thought we're saved by faith. These are good works of faith.

The very word 'inspiration' means 'God breathe' - all Scripture is God breathe. Let me see here, if you look in acts 15 - matter of fact, I want you to read Galatians chapter 3, verse 9 - is that the one I'm looking for? Alright, let me - I want to read something to you from acts 15 - acts 15, verse , "and with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: 'after this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up; so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the gentiles who are called by my name," - so Paul actually refers to this in Galatians. All of the gentiles - in acts - what are they saying? They're quoting the old testament. That's what he said: 'this is what is written' and they quote Amos 9, verses 11-12 and they say, 'all of the gentiles will come to the tabernacle of David. Isn't Jesus The Son of David that was to rebuild the tabernacle? So they always knew the gentiles would come - it didn't say they'd become jews - not as far as circumcision.

Now, does every believer become a spiritual jew? Yes. Is there a salvation covenant made with gentiles? The new covenant - 'a new covenant I will make after those days,' says the Lord, 'with the house of Israel and the house of judah.' Who is the new covenant made with? With jews. Are the gentiles to be a different tree than the jews, or are they grafted in to the stalk of Israel? Romans 9 says they're grafted in. So does the Lord have two separate churches? He's got a Jewish church and a gentile church? It's all one church. He's got - there's one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one church, one spirit - right? And so, what does that mean? Is it a gentile church or is it a Jewish church? Now, that's a trick question.

We are all spiritually jews. Can you be a physical jew and a spiritual jew? Can you be saved just because you're a physical jew? Are you saved because you're a gentile? Or are you only saved because of your spiritual faith? Jew or gentile, it's based on faith. Now, if you're a jew, you may want to follow some of the Jewish customs, but you're not saved by those things, right? Did Paul, sometimes, accommodate the jews that he could reach the jews? Doesn't the Bible say Paul said, 'I became all things to all men that I might win some to Christ'? And so, you know, you try to identify with people as much as you could, not being - you know, you don't want to identify where, like, 'in rome do as the Romans' and so you have orgies. That doesn't mean you disobey the law to be like people. But, as far as you can try to identify with people to reach them, you create that bridge and make it easier.

Alright, moving along here, we're going to go to the next section talking about reckoned as righteous and someone's going to read, for me, John 3 - I'm sorry, John 8, verse 39 - you'll have that? Okay. I'm going to read Romans 4, verses 1-5, "what then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on him who justifies the unGodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness," - what Paul is really saying here is you work all week long at your job, at the end of the week the boss calls you in and says, 'I've got good news. I've got a gift for you.

' And he hands you an envelope and you open it and you think it's a bonus, but it's not, it's your paycheck. And you look puzzled at your boss and you say, 'why are you telling me this is a gift? This is not a gift, I earned this. This is mine. You owe it to me, right? You told me you were giving me a gift. That's why Paul is saying that, 'if you work for it, it's not faith'.

You see what he's saying here? "Now to time who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on him who justifies the unGodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness". So, after manesseh - do we all know who manesseh was - the King? Wicked king - killed Isaiah the prophet - offered some of his children as sacrifices to pagan Gods. He was a wicked king. Got carried off - put in prison in assyria.

He turned to the Lord. He repented and God forgave him. Could manesseh boast that he was forgiven because of his good works? Or was it entirely because of his grace? You known, there was a wonderful promise in the Bible - in Ezekiel - wait a second - I'll read that in a second - John, go ahead, read your verse. John 8:39-40, "they answered and said to him, 'Abraham is our father.' Jesus said to them, 'if you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God.

Abraham did not do this." Yeah, he's saying, 'Abraham, he would have believed me.' It says 'Abraham longed to see my day and he saw it. Abraham was saved by faith, if you're children of Abraham, Abraham looked to Christ in faith. When Abraham was on the mountain with his son and [Abraham] said, 'God'll provide himself a sacrifice', he looked beyond that and he saw the Gospel. Jesus revealed the Gospel to him. God preached the Gospel to Abraham.

And so, he said, 'you would believe what Abraham believed, but you're not Abraham's children.' You know, Abraham is mentioned 74 times in the new testament. And so, he is really a character - an old testament character who's an example of faith. Now I was going to read something to you - Ezekiel 18:21 - I was talking about manesseh a moment ago, "but if a wicked man turns from all of his sins which he has committed, keeps" - now, pick any wicked man you want - have you - you've probably heard of some things you just don't think can be forgiven. 'All manner of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven to the children of men' - there's only one thing it says cannot be forgiven. Will there be murderers that are forgiven? Yes.

Will there be adulterers that are forgiven? Yes. Does God forgive extortioners and gluttons? Does the Lord forgive pedophiles? It just seems so sinister it's hard for us, you know? But I'm going to - come on, let's see if you can do it. Try and say 'yes'. (Laughter) I know it's hard to get it out. It's something we - we would have a hard time forgiving.

All manner of sin and blasphemy. So God forgives all kinds of things. So you've got a person who is guilty of all these things together, like manesseh, and they repent - they sincerely repent and they're forgiven, do they ever have any right to say 'I was forgiven because of my good works'? Can anyone really say they're forgiven by their good works? Job was a perfect and upright man who feared God and hated evil - 'perfect and upright'. Zechariah and elizabeth were perfect before the Lord, keeping - walking in all the commandments of the Lord. Were job, Zechariah, and elizabeth - are they going to be saved by their good works? Did they sin? How many have sinned? All.

All except who? Jesus. The Bible says he did no sin. Everyone else has sinned. What's the penalty for sin? Death. So even if the most moral, well-behaved person you can find in the Bible - that might be Daniel, that might be Joseph - all of them deserve death because all of them sinned.

So none of them can boast anything but grace. I remember talking to someone once and talked about salvation. They said, 'well, I'm not worried about it. I figure, I've done more good things than bad things and so God's going to forgive me. Their idea of the judgment day was God was going to take all the bad things you did - and they admitted there were plenty they had done - and then he'd take the good things - and he said, 'well, I think my list of good things outweighs my list of bad things, so I'm okay.

' All you need is one bad thing and the penalty's death. You can't, then, say, 'I've done all these good things.' And so, everybody needs to depend on grace, amen? Amen. Alright, going to the Gospel in the old testament - Leviticus - matter of fact, what's your verse? Deuteronomy 27:26. Oh, okay, I'll get you in just a minute. Leviticus 17:11, "for the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.

" So what was it that provided forgiveness for people? Was is the good works or was it the blood? The idea of being saved by grace through faith in the blood is not a new testament concept. It's an old testament concept. Did they really think the blood of lambs would wash away their sin? Doesn't God say, in the book of Micah, 'what has the Lord required of you? Does he want rivers of blood? Ten thousand burnt offerings?' - I'm paraphrasing now - he says, 'no, none of that.' He says, 'will I give my child for the sin of my soul?' And it's an allusion to what God did with Jesus but - he said, 'no.' David said, 'if it was the fat of rams and goats that you desired, I would offer it.' But what does the Lord want? A contrite spirit. He wants us to humble ourselves before the Lord and to repent. It's by faith - by humbling ourselves - by repenting - that's how we receive forgiveness.

Genesis 12:1 through 3 - I already read this to you - sorry - let's go to Zechariah 3, verses 1 through 4, "then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and satan standing at his right hand to oppose him." - Or to accuse him - you know, it tells us in Revelation satan is called the what? The accuser - Revelation 12 - he's the accuser of the brethren. He points to our sins and he accuses us. Here you've got Zechariah 3 - satan is looking at the sins of God's people that were borne on the garments of the high priest - and so satan's standing there. The priest was supposed to make atonement and so, like Christ, he's our high priest. And he's ".

..standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to satan, 'the Lord rebuke you, satan! the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?' Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the angel. Then he answered and spoke to those who stood before him, saying, 'take away the filthy garments from him.' And to him he said, 'see, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.'" And this is what the Lord does with salvation. He makes a trade with us. He takes away our filthy garments.

He gives us his robes of righteousness. How are the saved described in Revelation? They have washed their robes and made them white in what? The blood of the lamb. Is that a new testament concept or an old testament concept? It goes all the way back to the beginning. Alright, read, for us, please Deuteronomy 27. Deuteronomy 27:26, "cursed is the one who does not confirm all the words of this law.

..' And all the people shall say, 'amen!'" Alright, now this is under the section redeemed from the curse. We read in Galatians that it says that cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree. Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things that are written in the law. The Bible says that the law is there as a witness against us, according to Galatians chapter 2. And so, if we're hoping that we can stand just in the light of the law and find righteousness, not unless we're first washed.

Now, will people be judged by the law? 'So do and so speak as those that will be judged by the law of liberty.' - That's in James chapter 2 - so there is a judgment on the law, but we're not saved by that. We're saved by grace. It's the grace that forgives us from all our lawlessness. Corinthians 5, verse 21, "for he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him." Christ who was sinless became sin for us. It's like when Moses lifted up the serpent.

When Moses was on the mountain and the people were fighting a battle and he was told to intercede and he lifted up his arms; and when his arms went down, they lost and when his arms went up they won. They won the battle based on believing in the intercession of Moses, not in their prowess as soldiers. When David went against Goliath, were there works involved? He used the sling, he used the sword, but to what did he give the credit? He said, 'I'm coming in the name of the Lord.' When Joseph was sold by his brothers and he suffered for years because of their greed - because of their jealousy - did he forgive his brothers? Did he not only forgive them, but did he feed them? And did he bless them? He gave them the best of the land. Isn't that a type of Christ? Just by the grace of Joseph. He could have - he could have gotten even with them.

And you find all through the old testament you see these examples - these stories - of grace. You can - when Esther comes before king ahasueras - what's the penalty if you come before the King uninvited? Death. Death. But he comes and he holds out the scepter - she touches it - a symbol of grace - unmerited favor. All through the Bible, in the old testament - when absalom killed his brother and he came back to the Kingdom and David finally, he embraced him and forgave him - another example of God's grace.

You just go on and on through the old testament. Can you think of any? Old testament examples of salvation by faith - in the multitude of Sabbath school members there is wisdom. Come on, I didn't cover them all. Gideon? Gideon - oh, rahab - gideon, yeah, God just had mercy on him and - through faith in God through blowing the trumpet. Rahab: all those who were in the house with the sign of red - a symbol of the grace of God - would be forgiven.

Joshua just showed them mercy. Oh, I guess someone could argue - you know, it's interesting about rahab. Rahab's the one character in the Bible it says she was saved by faith, in Hebrews, and James says she's saved by works. Did you know that? But it was definitely - Hebrews says she was saved by faith in that she believed that Joshua - in the God of Joshua - and she received the messengers. Anyone else? Abel.

I heard two. What? Adam and eve were saved by grace. They broke the law. They - God gave them the skins of lambs. The lambs died to cover their nakedness.

It was grace. Who else did I hear? Abel. Abel. He was saved by faith in the blood. That's right.

Way back there in the beginning. Did I hear another one? Daniel? Noah was saved by grace. Noah found grace - very good - in the eyes of the Lord. So this is the main point of this lesson. I just thought we'd tie it off with you helping me.

Were they saved in the old testament by works or were they saved by grace? Grace. Was Noah a jew or a gentile? (Laughter) he was uncircumcised. How about Enoch? Not circumcised - and he made it to heaven. You see what Paul was saying to the Galatians? How can you go back to thinking you've got to be circumcised to be saved? Look at these heroes in the Bible that - from the old testament - that are going to be in heaven - some are already in heaven - that didn't go through these ceremonial laws. And so, he said, 'you've begun in the Spirit and you're getting distracted by the law.

' That's why he called them foolish Galatians. Anyway, hopefully we've learned something from today's lesson. I want to remind our friends, we do have a free gift and we'd like you to know about that grace and that faith and so we've got a classic book by Joe Crews. It's called three steps to heaven and we'll send it to you for free. All you have to do is call the number 866-788-3966.

Make sure and ask for offer #102 when you call. And the book is called three steps to heaven - read it and share it with a friend. God bless you, friends, we'll look forward to studying His Word with you again next week. Let's face it, it's not always easy to understand everything you read in the Bible. With over 700,000 words contained in 66 books, the Bible can generate a lot of questions.

To get biblical straightforward answers call in to Bible answers live - a live nationwide call-in radio program where you can talk to Pastor Doug Batchelor and ask him your most difficult Bible questions. For times and stations in your area, or to listen to answers online, visit bal.amazingfacts.org. Friends, one of the amazing things that you'll often find in the south pacific islands, like here on fiji, is the vaivai plant. Now, in North America, if you want to build a fence you've got to get fence posts and then you put the wooden fence posts in the ground and then after a few years they're going to rot and break off, unless they're specially treated. But here, they've got these trees - the vaivai tree - they can cut them right out of the woods, they'll take a stick, they stick it in the ground, and because they have so much rain and precipitation, it begins to sprout and turns into a living fence post.

It makes up its mind that it's going to flourish wherever you stick it, which is a good lesson for you and me. So you might wonder sometimes if you've got a purpose in life. You might feel like you're growing sort of sporadically in every direction, and then along comes this person who cuts you down and carries you off, he sticks you in the ground but you look back and say, 'there was a plan. There was a purpose.' God knows how to teach us how to prosper where he plants us. You might wonder why the Lord has put you where he has in life, but you can put down roots and you can grow and you can serve a great purpose for God.

You know, it's like God says in Jeremiah chapter 29, 'I know the plans that I've got for you to give you a future.' God has a purpose for your life, friends, and he can help you to prosper and grow wherever you're planted. For life-changing Christian resources, visit afbookstore.com or call 1-800-538-7275.

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