Turning Hearts in the End-Time

Turning Hearts in the End-Time

Scripture: Malachi 4:5-6, Matthew 11:14-15, 1 Kings 18:20-45
Date: 06/29/2019  Lesson: 13
"All the eloquent sermons, all the logic and biblical presentations, aren’t enough: The world needs to see manifest in our lives, especially in our family lives, the repentance, the turned hearts, the love, and the commitment we preach about."

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Jëan Ross: Good morning, friends. Welcome again to "Sabbath School Study Hour" here at the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome our online members and our extended Sabbath school class joining in across the country and around the world as we continue our series dealing with family seasons. Actually, today is the final study with our lesson quarterly on the subject of family seasons. Today's lesson is lesson number 13, and it's entitled "Turning Hearts in the End Times," so that's an important and interesting study that we'll be looking at today. Those of you who are here in person following our lesson study today, you'll be able to receive next quarter's lesson quarterly. It's entitled "The Least of These," and this will be handed out following our study time here. You'll also see it on the back table. For those of you who are joining us and who don't have a copy of our quarterly for next study, you can go to Amazing Facts, and you can order yours. You can also just go visit a nearby Seventh-day Adventist Church, and you'll be able to receive a lesson quarterly there, as well.

Now, before we go to our worship time, before we get to our lesson, we have something special that we'd like to let you know about. This afternoon at 4:30, right here at the Granite Bay Church and also for our friends who are joining us on Facebook, we're going to have a special Q&A time connected with our AFCOE program. AFCOE is the Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism. I'm very happy that we have Daniel with us this morning. Daniel, come on up. Daniel is the assistant AFCOE director, also very involved with our AFCOE training, traveling around doing our AFCOE To Gos, and he's going to tell us a little bit about a brand new course that is available through our AFCOE online and then I think we're going to show you a short video about it.

Daniel Hudgens: That's right. You know, time flies, and it's hard to imagine that just almost a year ago we launched Amazing Disciples, which goes through all the principles of discipleship and what it's all about, about really being a Christian. And so, now I'm just thrilled to announce that we have expanded our program with Amazing Doctrines. It's, kind of, like the next step. Now you're a disciple. What do you teach? And all these special teachings found in the Word. You know, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," and so each week we're going to be going through what is the way of Jesus and how does it affect our life as we study with others and as we live? And so, we've got a pretty cool video that we're going to show you now, letting you know all about Amazing Doctrines. If you want to know more you can go to online.afcoe.org or you can go to afcoe.org and click on the links there, and you can learn all about both programs, Amazing Disciples and Amazing Doctrines. Jëan: All right, we'll take a look at that video at this time.

♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ Doug Batchelor: Hello, friends. Last year, we expanded our AFCOE program to include our very first global online platform. It's called Amazing Disciples. Now we're very excited to announce our brand new 13-week course called "Amazing Doctrines" that will empower you to share the precious truths found in the Word of God, doctrines such as Scripture, salvation, sanctuary, the state of man in death, the Second Coming, the Sabbath, strength, stewardship, the spirit of prophecy, and we'll be talking about the origin of sin. Of course, the material is based on the firsthand experience of our evangelists that they've acquired in their years of experience in the field, so now you can learn from the very best and be equipped with proven methods to join in the work. What's more, you'll be able to study this fantastic material on your phone, your tablet, your computer, and on the go. You'll have 13 powerful lessons, weekly downloads, interactive lessons, video presentations, and live question-and-answer sessions with the AFCOE team. You'll have a real team of teachers to guide you along the way and as a student you'll be able to study from home, learn at any time, and become a confident and effective soul winner in your community, or wherever God calls you. And upon completion of the course, you will receive a certificate of completion. Now, how would you like to meet some of your personal instructors? Carlos Muñoz and Daniel Hudgens, my friends and powerful evangelists. Daniel: Thanks, Pastor Doug. Friends, we're so excited about this new online program. Carlos Muñoz: We're going to be waiting for you, so please join us by logging on to our website.

♪♪♪ Jëan: Well, there it is, our AFCOE Online. Very excited about that, our brand-new series called Amazing Doctrines, and we're actually starting our Q&A time today. Again, that's this afternoon, 4:30, right here at the church. You're all welcome to come join us. We're going to be taking some questions from our AFCOE online students, some Bible questions, so I think you'll enjoy that. At this time, I'd like to invite our song leaders to come forward, and we're going to begin our study time by lifting our voices in song.

Female: As we do before every study, we lift our voices to the Lord to sing together, so I invite you to pull out your hymnals and those of you that are at home hymn number 318, "Whiter Than Snow." And that is what we all want to be, is washed whiter than snow in the blood of Jesus and taken to heaven very soon, so let's sing verses one, three, and four. "Whiter Than Snow."

♪♪♪ ♪ Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole. ♪ I want Thee forever to live in my soul. ♪ ♪ Break down every idol, cast out every foe. ♪ ♪ Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. ♪ ♪ Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow. ♪ ♪ Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. ♪ ♪ Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat. ♪ ♪ I wait, blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet. ♪ ♪ By faith for my cleansing, I see Thy blood flow. ♪ ♪ Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. ♪ ♪ Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow. ♪ ♪ Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. ♪ ♪ Lord Jesus, Thou seest I patiently wait. ♪ ♪ Come now and within me a new heart create. ♪ ♪ To those who have sought Thee Thou never said'st no. ♪ ♪ Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. ♪ ♪ Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow. ♪ ♪ Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Jëan: Let's bow our heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father, once again we are grateful for this opportunity to gather together and open up Your Word and study an important subject, talking about the family and how we can prepare for the end times that we know is nearing us sooner all the time, so, Lord, we ask for Your blessing. Be with our study time today. In Jesus's name, amen. Our lesson this morning is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug.

Doug: Good morning. Happy Sabbath. Glad to see you here. Glad to see those who are here worshiping and studying with us at Granite Bay, as well as we know there are hundreds and thousands around the world that study. Some are watching live now and then when it's rebroadcast on television and satellite later there are thousands that tune in and study with us. We're glad that you're joining us. Today, we're going to be covering our last lesson, lesson number 13 in our study guide, on family seasons, and you probably know that means that we're going to begin a new study dealing with the least of these, ministering to those in need, talking about some of the practical aspects of Christianity. And for those of you who are members and attend locally, we have our new quarterlies on the central table out in the foyer, and I'm looking forward to this series of lesson.

Today, our lesson is talking about turning hearts in the end, turning hearts in the end time, and our memory verse is Malachi chapter 4, last book in the Old Testament, last chapter in the Old Testament. Malachi chapter 4, verse 5 and 6, last verses in the Old Testament. You want to say that with me? And this is from the New King James Version. Are you ready? "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

So, our lesson is talking about turning, turning hearts. This turning that is being discussed in the lesson is really talking about repentance. Now let me give you a few verses that illustrate that. What will bring about a revival and repentance in the last days? Turning hearts of families back to the Lord. If you look at Malachi chapter 3--if you want to know--what is He talking about when He says there in Malachi 4 "turning the hearts of the fathers to the children"? Look at Malachi 3. Let the Bible describe the Bible. "'Yet from the days of your fathers you've gone away from My ordinances and you've not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you,' says the Lord." So, He's talking about that they had drifted away from the teachings of God, and He says "in the days of your fathers." Now, when it says "restoring the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers," this is certainly talking about relationships.

You know, they say that one of the--one of the catastrophes in the world today is because of the epidemic of divorce and broken homes. So many children are growing up without the father being a central part of the family or not knowing who their father is and because of that lack of strong fathers in the family, that it's just created a whole cultural shift, and the Lord wants to see a revival in this, among other things. But in the Bible, when it talks about the fathers, it's not just talking about daddies. It's talking about the teachings of the fathers. There's often in the Bible a generation gap. You notice it tells us, for instance, in the book of Judges that after--I think it's even in Joshua. After the generation that saw the works of the Lord had died off, their children came who did not believe in or did not commit themselves to the God of their fathers, and they started going after other gods. They rejected the gods of their fathers, so this restoration of the children to the fathers is talking about the children returning to the teachings of the fathers, and the fathers having a responsibility to train up their children in the way of the Lord, to speak of the Word of God when they lay down, when they rise up, on the doors of the house, on the gates of the city, when you go out, when you come in. And so, it's really a revival talking about a repentance and a returning back to God.

Here are some other verses that will help bear that out. Zechariah chapter 1, verse 3 and 4, "Therefore say unto them, 'Thus says the Lord of hosts: 'Return to Me,' says the Lord of hosts, 'and I will return to you.'" Can you think of a story in the Bible where someone was returning to the father and the father returned to them? Prodigal son. When the boy begins to make his way home, as soon as the father sees him--now, does the father see him when he knocks on the door? How does he see him? Long before he gets to the house, a great way off. And when he saw him coming did he fold his arms and tap his foot and say, "When he gets here I'm going to lecture him"? Or does the father run to meet him as soon as he sees him making an effort to come home? And when God sees us beginning to draw near to him, isn't that what the Lord wants? And he runs to meet us. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. "'Do not be like your fathers, whom the former prophets preached to, saying, "The Lord of hosts--thus says the Lord of hosts: 'Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds.'" But they did not hear--they did not hear me,' says the Lord."

So, when we're studying turning the hearts in the end time notice what he says. "Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds." What is the central study today? Turning from evil. What do we call that? Repentance. A message in the last days of repentance. What was the message of John the Baptist? Because when it says here, "Behold, I'll send you Elijah the prophet," haven't gotten there yet, but, you know, John the Baptist came in the spirit and the power of Elijah, right? And it's a message of repentance. What was the first thing that Jesus said when he began preaching? Repent. First word was "repent." First word of John the Baptist was "repent." On Pentecost, when Peter is talking to the people, and he preaches and when he's done they say, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" what's the first thing he says? Repent. We don't hear a lot of sermons that talk about repentance, but this is what it means when it talks about turning back to God. You look in Isaiah 44, verse 22. "I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you." Again, he's talking about turning, and it's a blotting--a forgiveness that comes. And in James chapter 4 here is another example of you drawing near to God. James 4, verse 7, "Therefore--"

Now, someone here is going to read for me Ezekiel 11:19. You'll have that in just a moment. "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God--" Now, how do you resist the devil? You draw near to God. "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." There you have it again. Turn to God, He will turn to you. "He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners." So, what does it mean to turn to God? "Cleanse your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom." Now, does that sound like a positive message? It is a positive message. When you think about it, what's the next verse say? "Humble yourself in the sight of God. He will lift you up." So, what comes before God lifts us up? A humbling of ourselves before God. You know, that classic verse there in 2 Chronicles. "If my people who--" I think it's chapter 14, verse 7. "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sin. I will heal their land." We want God to hear. We want God to forgive. We want God to heal. What comes first? Humble ourselves in the sight of God. He will lift us up at that point. Now, go ahead. You read your verse for me in Ezekiel 11, verse 19.

Female: Ezekiel 11:19, "Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh."

Doug: This is the new conversion experience. We were talking about this in our family last night, about, you know, how do you really obey God? You need to be born-again, but in so many churches now they're teaching that being saved means you simply embrace salvation and there is no transformation in the life. That is not biblical. The Bible is pretty clear that first we must repent and part of repentance, the verbal side of repentance, is confession. Is that right? Is there a place for us repenting and confessing our sins? Now, confession of sin means--how many know every sin you've committed? Some of you might have a photographic memory, but I don't. How can you be sure that you've repented and confessed every sin you've ever committed? Well, the Holy Spirit will remind you of what you need to confess.

Now, first of all, when God says repent and confess your sins, I don't think He's wanting you to do an inventory of every sin from the day you reached the age of accountability until the present, because I seriously doubt anyone can remember every sin. But can you remember the categories? So, you may not remember every time you told an untruth--that's a code for lie--but you can say--and, you know, the Bible says, "Do not bear false witness." Just use the Ten Commandments as a template. Go through them. I've said this frequently that I think it's a very good idea. If you've never done this before and you've accepted Jesus, to get off by yourself and say, "Lord, show me my sins." Doesn't David say, "Search me and try me. See if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting"? It's like, "Search me and try me and reveal these things to me. I will repent of them." And say, "Lord, show me my sin." Get by yourself, get on your knees, get a piece of paper and just say, "Lord, I've been a liar. I'm guilty of murder." "Wait, Pastor Doug, I've never murdered." Jesus says have you been angry with your brother without cause? That's called murder. He said, "Do not swear by heaven above or earth beneath. Let your yea be yea, your nay be nay." If you're giving any kind of shades of the truth, that's dishonesty. "I've committed adultery." "Wait, I've never committed adultery." Have you looked on the opposite sex to lust? Does Jesus say you can commit adultery in your heart? Now, we'd probably be surprised that most of us are probably guilty of all ten. "Thou shall not covet." And so, just say--go through the Ten Commandments and say, "Lord, I have broken Your law many times. I don't even remember all the times." That way you cover anything you've left out and say, "But I believe Your promise that if I confess and forsake my sins, I will have mercy."

The Bible says if we confess our sins--what is this? 1 John chapter 1, verse 9, "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from," how much? "All unrighteousness." Claim that promise and then when you have repented and confessed your sins and you get off your knees, you're forgiven.

But then, what do you do? The Bible tells us there needs to be a reformation in life. Maybe I should start with a definition of what repentance is, to repent. This means remorse, regret, or contrition for past conduct or sin, to feel such regret as to change one's mind regarding it, as in repenting of intemperate behavior, to make it change for the better as a result of remorse, or notice what repentance is: to make a change for the better as a result of this remorse or contrition for one's sins. The Hebrew word for repent is "nocham," and it means "to sigh," "to breathe strongly." It's like regret and the Greek word is "metanoeó," and it means to--regretful, thinking differently, turning from sin. Peter said, "Repent and be baptized, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit," so connected with this repentance is you get a new beginning, a washing away from your sin. All right, back to our lesson. Now, we just heard about this new heart that God gives us and in Ezekiel 18 he says, "Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed," this is describing that repentance. "'Get yourself a new heart and a new spirit. For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,' says the Lord. 'Therefore turn,'" talking about turning hearts. What does turning mean? It says cast away your transgressions. Turn and live, and so this is speaking of repentance and transformation.

Now, how many of you have heard these hints that being a Christian means you come to the front, you say a prayer and say, "I accept Jesus. He died for my sins"? "Thank you. You're now saved." And it's implied that "this is what you've done. Listen, you've got eternal life now. Just enjoy yourself." But there is really no teaching that goes along with it about what does it mean to repent. It used to be that when people came to the Lord, they say they wanted to accept Jesus, the pastor would then study with them and talk about reformation in life. The Bible describes it. This is what is spoken of here. Ezekiel 33:11, "Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why will you die, O house of Israel?'" So, a message in the last days for families is turning from evil. Ezekiel 33:14. I just read Ezekiel 33:11.

Now you go a little later in the chapter. "Again, I say to the wicked, 'You will surely die,' if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, if the wicked restores the pledge," now it's giving you some specifics, "if he restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he will surely live and not die. None of his sins he has committed shall be remembered against him; what he has done, he has done what is lawful and right; he will surely live." Almost makes it sound like, well, is that salvation by works, I work my way to heaven? No, if you are saved by grace, if you are sorry for your sin there'll be an evidence. You'll have fruit in your life.

It's like the person who says, "Lord, please forgive me for borrowing my neighbor's lawnmower and never returning it. Praise the Lord, I'm forgiven." Now, the question is do you still have his lawnmower in your garage? If you say, "Well, I still got his lawnmower, but Jesus has forgiven me," now wait a second. You take the lawnmower back, otherwise you have not repented. Isn't that right? I say that because I got some--a friend who did that to me. It wasn't my lawnmower. It was something else. He borrowed some tools, then he asked me to forgive him, but he never brought them back. That's not real repentance.

All right, next section. Oh, I got one more verse here. Jonah 3:10. When Jonah preached up and down the streets of Nineveh, the Bible says, "God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way," this is the turning. And it says, "He relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it." Because they turned God then showed them mercy. Friends, is there time for us right now to turn? And if we turn will he show mercy? Will there be a time when probation closes and then it's too late? Yes, and now is the time, today while you hear his voice. Jeremiah 19. We're talking about the family reunion here. Jeremiah 19, verse 5, "They've also built high places to the Baal, they've burned their sons in the fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or speak, neither did it come into My mind."

Now, under this section about family reunion, I mean, they want you to read two chapters or three chapters there in 1 Kings, and there's no way we can do that in the class here, but it's telling the story of what happened because Ahab married out of the church. Who did Ahab marry? Jezebel was a daughter of Ethbaal from the Sidonians, and she was like a priestess for Baal and here he marries her. That's just like really marrying out of the church, and she begins to bring Baal worship in a big way into the northern kingdom. And because his--what was happening in his family, it began to spread throughout the families, and so--and all kinds of nasty things went along with Baal worship that was affecting everybody. But during this time, God sends Elijah to stay with a Sidonian family, and he brings Jehovah there.

So, here Ahab, he brings the worship of Baal from Sidon down into Israel, and they start to follow the practice. Elijah goes up there, and he does missionary work. It's like the opposite way in--of doing it in the same territory. Luke 4. Jesus begins his ministry and notice what he refers to. "I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow." Now, Jesus--it's interesting. Jesus does one miracle for a Gentile, or I'll say a Gentile mission trip you might say. There is one time when Jesus actually leaves the territory of Israel. He goes up to Sidon, and a woman comes crying after Him and says, "Have mercy. My daughter is tormented by the devil," and He ignores her at first. And she continues to plead, "Have mercy on me. My daughter is tormented by the devil." And, finally, He says, "I--you know, I'm not in Israel right now, and I'm sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." And she said, "O Lord, have mercy." He said, "It's not appropriate to take the children's food and give it to the dogs." I know it sounds like very harsh language. Jesus was answering her the way the priest would have answered. He wanted the disciples to hear how the religious leaders sounded, but her faith was so persistent. She said, "Yes, but the little dogs get the crumbs that fall from the children's tables." He said, "Woman, great is your faith. Go home. Your daughter is going to be healed," and she went home, and her daughter was healed. So, Jesus performs a miracle for a child of a Sidonian woman.

Elijah goes up into Sidon. He performs a miracle. You remember he stays with this woman, and he really gives her quite a test. During the time of famine, he comes to the gates of the city. Remember, Elijah is staying by the Brook Cherith and the water in the brook finally dries up. That's back when the ravens were bringing him food, and God says, "Go up to Sidon. I've spoken to a widow there. She's going to take care of you." Well, evidently, the widow hadn't opened her mail yet, because when Elijah comes outside the gates of the city she's out gathering sticks. God impresses Elijah, "That's the woman." And he says to her, "Can you get me a drink of water?" She said, "Yeah, there is still water in the well." There was a famine. It hadn't rained, but there is still water in the well, so she's going to get a cup of water and as she's going he says, "And can you bring me a little cake of bread?" And she just exasperates. She turns around and says, "Man of God, look. I'm out gathering two sticks so that my son and I can prepare our last meal, eat our last loaf of bread and die." He said, "Trust me. You go make a loaf for me and then make for yourself and make a loaf for me first, for thus says the Lord, 'The flour will not go away from the bin and the oil will not dry up until God sends rain on the earth.'" So, she's got to make a decision. "Do I believe the Word of God?" So, she does it. She said, "What have I got to lose? He might be right. If I put him first maybe we'll eat for many days, otherwise I get one more meal anyway, so what's the difference?" I don't know if that's what she's thinking, but that's what I would have thought, so she goes and she makes a loaf for Elijah, gives him a drink of water. She comes back to make a loaf for herself and there is more flour in the bin, and it says she and her family every day ate through the remainder of the famine. Whenever she reached in there there was more. It's almost like Jesus multiplying the bread, right?

Now, while he's staying with the widow tragedy strikes the home and the woman's son gets sick and dies, and Elijah, he goes up to the upper room where the child is. He prays for the child. He stretches himself on the child, and he prays three times and the child is resurrected. Now, what's the response of the woman when that happens? And that's--I think you're going to be reading that for me. So, here he multiplies the bread. This miracle happens. What other miracle happens here? Go and read--I think it's 1 Kings 17:24. Albert: 1 Kings 17:24, "Then the woman said to Elijah, 'Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.'" Doug: You know, something I probably should have said right at the beginning of our lesson is in our memory verse, last prophecy in the Old Testament, "Behold, I send you Elijah the prophet," did Elijah the prophet come back to Earth again? Someone venture an answer. You get 50/50 chance. Well, he did. Do you read in Mark chapter 9? It's also in Matthew and Luke. I think it's also in Luke chapter 9. That Jesus goes up this mountain, and Moses and Elijah appear to him, so technically Elijah does make at least a brief visit back to Earth, right? But what is it specifically talking about? Well, John the Baptist comes in the spirit and the power of Elijah. We're going to get to that a little later.

Who is the first one who comes in the spirit and the power of Elijah? Elisha. Am I right? When they crossed the Jordan River and Elijah performs his miracle--he hits the Jordan with his mantle and it parts and they go over on dry ground--and Elijah says to Elisha his attendant, his apprentice prophet, he said, "Is there anything that you want to ask from me before I'm taken away to heaven?" He said, "Yes, let," what? "A double portion of your spirit be upon me." And as they walked together suddenly Elijah is taken up in his chariot, his heavenly limousine, to heaven, and he throws down his mantle. Elisha gets a double portion of Elijah's spirit, so Elisha comes back to the sons of the prophet and at first he comes back to the river. He strikes it with the mantle of Elijah, it parts, and then the sons of the prophets say, "Surely the spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha."

So, who is the first one who comes in the spirit and the power of Elijah? Elisha, right? Now, does Elijah perform a miracle where bread is multiplied and the son is resurrected of a woman in an upper room? Does Elisha then stay with a Gentile woman, who is a Shunammite, who builds an upper room for him? He prophesies that she will have a son. She has a son. When he's like five years old or so he dies. She fetches Elisha, who goes to the upper room. He stretches himself upon the child. He prays. The child sneezes seven times and comes back to life. Does Elisha also do a miracle where he multiplies bread? He does, so Elisha does the same miracles as Elijah, and then they are both types of Christ, who is the ultimate resurrection. He is the son that comes back to life. You notice what the woman says, "By this," what Albert just read, "by this I know that you're a man of God and the Word of the Lord is in your mouth."

What is the greatest evidence that Jesus had the Word of God in his mouth? The Resurrection, that he was the Son of God. I mean, it was the greatest miracle of all, so, yeah, and by the way, then you find in 2 Kings 4, verse 35 you find where Elijah--sorry, Elisha. He does the same miracle, and the woman bows at his feet, and she also praises God for her son that has resurrected. All right, so they had the bread of God in the home being multiplying, and they had the son in the home being resurrected. These are signs of the Word of God and the living Christ in the families and these family reunions that's being talked about. Now, it talks about here in the next section, turning hearts at the altar. If you look in Exodus 29, verse 41--well, maybe I ought to direct your attention to--this is all about the Mount Carmel experience, where you read that--it says in 1 Kings 18, verse 30 Elijah says to all the people, "'Come near to me.' So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down." The Mount Carmel experience is one of the high points in the Bible.

You know, if I were to point to some of the great glorious times of God being magnified in the Bible, let me tell you what I think they were: the fiery furnace on the Plains of Dura when three Hebrews stood up when everyone else bowed down, and God came and protected them, and the whole world had a proclamation that Jehovah was the living God. The Lord accomplished through them that day what He had been trying to do through the nation for hundreds of years. He wanted them to be a light to the world, so that was one of the high points. David and Goliath is one of the high points. David goes out with nothing, really, but depending on the Lord, and you've got one of the high points in the Bible. Mount Carmel is--well, of course, Daniel in the lions' den is another one of those high points and there is a few glorious--the Red Sea.

You know, there are a few glorious high points in the Bible and, well, there's quite a few now that I think about it, but one of them has got to be the Mount Carmel experience, where you've got the ultimate showdown. You've got the good guy--you got the good cowboy who's outnumbered by 800 bad guys, and he comes fearlessly into town, and he's unarmed, at least it looks that way, and he takes on the king and his army and his priests, just Elijah and God. You and God are a majority. I mean, it's just a great story. Talk about the boldness and the audacity of him to say, "Get all of Israel together and tell all the prophets of Baal. You do whatever you want to do. You build your altar. You see if you can get rain or fire to come down on your altar and then whoever's god answers by fire, he's the real god." And so, after the prophets of Baal just wear themself out. They're trying to sneak a magnifying glass or something in there to get their fire going, and Elijah is watching them too carefully. They can't do it, and so they're not able to get the fire, and they carry on, and they cut themselves, and they prophesy, and they bleed, and they beat the drums. They jump up and down. They chant, "O Baal, hear us. O Baal, hear us." Nothing happens. Only thing that gathers around the sacrifice is flies.

Then at the end of the day--and, you know, he waits until the time of the evening sacrifice, the time that Israel should have been sacrificing to God, and you read about this in Exodus 29, verse 41. "The other lamb you shall offer at twilight." What time of day did Jesus die? It was in the afternoon. "And you shall offer it with the grain offering and the drink offering, as in the morning, for a sweet aroma, an offering made by fire to the Lord." So, Elijah, after the prophets of Baal lose their audience and they just totally give up and they walk away, he says, "Come near to me."

Now, what is this lesson about? Drawing near to God. He says, "Come near to me." What does Jesus say? "Come unto Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I'll give you rest." And all the people drew near and what does he do? He repairs the altar of the Lord. Now, they used to have morning and evening sacrifice where they gathered together. They would read the promises. They'd quote one of the sayings of Moses and then they'd offer sacrifice. What happens when the families neglect the time of worship in their homes? How important is it? And is this something fathers--if a family has a father, fathers ought to be leading out in this, you know? The Bible says the father should be the priest of the family. What it says, so don't--I know it may not be politically correct, but it's what it says, and they ought to be leading the family to the altar and saying, "You know, children, wife, hey let's have worship." Sometimes Karen has to remind me. She did this morning, said, "Why don't we read something?" And so, we need to have worship in our homes, morning and evening.

This is part of what it says, "Drawing the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Why does the Old Testament end that way? If we neglect the coming together of the families at the altar, the result is going to be that the sins of the fathers are reproduced in the children to the third and fourth generation. It takes a long time to get another revival and because the sins of the fathers are reproduced in the children, the neglect of God, then all the judgments and the problems and the backsliding is perpetrated in the children. And so, there needs to be a rebuilding of the altar, regular worship, even at times when it seems boring.

Any of you ever read the book "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom? Yeah, it's a great book. She ended up becoming a great lady of faith, and she says that her father, he had worship every morning and every evening, and she used to think, "Oh, no, don't read a whole chapter from Luke. The chapters in Luke are so long," when she was growing up, but her father faithfully. And you know what? When she went through a trial and she was in a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany, she was so thankful that her father had put the Word of God in her life. Even at times when they had worship it seemed tedious. Your kids will complain, but they're listening, and so you got to do it anyway. Rebuild the altar of the Lord. Can you say amen?

All right, and you can read here now in chapter 18, verse 36. "It came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, 'Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, that I am Your servant. That I've done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people might know that You are the Lord, that You have turned their hearts back to You again.'" And what happened when he prayed? There from a cloudless sky, like a giant arc welder, fire came rocketing from the heavens, burnt up the sacrifice. It burnt up the stones. It burnt up the water in the ditch and there was nothing but vapor sizzling and all the people fell down, and they said, "The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!" There's a great revival. People's hearts were turned back. There was revival in the nation because he had rebuilt the altar of the Lord and that's the way that it happens. Turning hearts at the Jordan.

Now, again, you know, you can talk about when Elijah there at the Jordan River--how many miracles were there at the Jordan? Can you name some? When Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan. How about Elisha with Naaman? Was that a miracle? Did the Jordan River part miraculously for the children of Israel in the days of Joshua? Was that a miracle of the Jordan? When Christ is filled with the Holy Spirit. Is that another miracle of the Jordan? What about when Elisha purified the waters of Jericho? Well, it's right next to the Jordan, and he also there at the Jordan River, he multiplied, at the school of the prophets they had there, he multiplied bread.

You can see quite a few miracles happen in the Jordan. Where was Jesus baptized? The Jordan represents this new birth and so you have all these miracles that are happening there: cleansing from leprosy, there's cleansing of sin, the bread being multiplied talking about the Word of God, the waters being dried up talking about that the Jordan--like a type of death that we cross on our way to heaven. So, the disciples--when Jesus--they were asking about, "Isn't Elijah supposed to come?" And this is Matthew 17, verse 10. Jesus responds, and Je says, "Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things." Now, when Jesus said this He's saying he is coming future. "But I say that Elijah has come, and they did not know him, but they did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands."

Now, that's a very, very, very, very, very important verse. I want you to catch that. Jesus said Elijah will come and Elijah has come, speaking of John the Baptist. Jesus is saying John the Baptist came in the spirit and the power of Elijah and that's going to be found in Matthew 11:14. "If you're willing to receive it," if you can understand it, "he is," John the Baptist, "is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears, let him hear!" And some have been confused by this because the religious leaders came to John. Once they said, "Are you Elijah?" He said, "No." And what they were asking is, "Are you Elijah resurrected?" He said, "No, you don't understand the state of the dead. I'm not Elijah resurrected." He came in the spirit and the power. Elisha was not Elijah resurrected, but Elisha had the spirit and the power of Elijah. Jesus is saying Elisha--Elijah will come, so if there is--John the Baptist he says Elijah did come, and they did to him whatever they wanted, but Elijah will come.

In Malachi when we read that prophecy that we started with, "Behold, I send you Elijah the prophet," was it just talking about John the Baptist, or is there going to be another Elijah message in the last days? I believe there is. I believe God is going to send that spirit and power of Elijah. I don't know if it will be a message that will take people or if there'll be an individual or maybe a combination of the two that will be proclaiming the Elijah message, a great revival. John the Baptist, he called the people to repentance and revival. Elijah, it was a message of repentance and revival, and this is supposed to happen in the last days before--notice, "Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse," and the ultimate curse is going to be when the Lord comes for the lost, if they're not ready.

All right, something else I want you to notice here when he talks about this. You look in--how does the Gospel of Mark--no, no, no, the Gospel of Matthew and Luke, they both begin with the birth of Jesus. How does Mark and John begin? Where in chronology? They begin with John the Baptist. Have you noticed that? Matthew and Luke begin with the Christmas story, and Mark and John, they just--they start right at the ministry of Christ that began at his anointing with the Holy Spirit and the ministry of John the Baptist. You can look in Mark chapter 1, and someone is going to read for me in just a moment John chapter 1, verse 6. "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets: 'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, ho will prepare Your way before You. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight."'" And this is what they used to do. They'd go before the king. They had messengers that would smooth down the high spots and fill in the low spots and make a road for the king. John the Baptist said that was his work. You can go ahead and read your verse.

Female: "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came to witness, to be a witness to the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not the Light, but he was sent to bear the witness of that Light."

Doug: So, right out of the gate the Gospel of John talks about the ministry of John the Baptist. That John came to point to Christ, said, "This is the Lamb of God." And, you know, this is really the message of repentance. Someone asked a rabbi one time. They said, "When is the best time to repent?" And he said, "The last day of your life." And they said, "Well, what if you don't know when the last day of your life is?" He said, "Exactly." Today is the appointed time. Today is the day of salvation. Failing to repent--someone once said failing to repent--every day you put off repenting is one more day to repent of and one less day to repent in. And so, it's something that so many people say, "Yeah, one of these days I'm going to repent of my sins and turn. One of these days I'm going to surrender everything and follow Jesus." When a person really does make a complete repentance there is going to be a transformation in life.

I heard about this evangelist. His name was W.P. Nicholson. He went to Belfast and had a great revival and there was such a widespread repentance in the city. That a lot of the shipyards there in Belfast, so many of the workers were convicted of the tools they had stolen. They brought them back. They ended up with so many extra tools they had to build new sheds to hold the tools that had been purloined by the workers, so the revival meant they brought back--I heard about this one man. His name was Al Johnson. He came to faith in Christ back in the 1920s, and he confessed to a bank robbery he had done with four others. He had never been caught, but he says, "I've come to Christ, and I can't have that on my conscience," and he went to the bank. And he had gone past the statute of limitations. They said, "You can't be prosecuted anymore." It had been seven years, whatever it was back then. He said, "It doesn't matter." He says, "It's written in heaven," and he paid back part of the money to the bank that he had stolen. He said, "I'm not going to pay back what the other guys stole, but I'll pay back what I stole, my cut of it." That's a sign of repentance.

I've had people come to me before, and they said, "Pastor Doug, I want to come to Jesus, but I stole from my boss and if I tell them I'm going to get fired, and I'll never be able to pay back what I stole." I say, "Well, what would Jesus do?" He said, "I might end up in jail." I said, "You need to do the right thing and put it in God's hands." And I could tell you testimony after testimony, because I've had this conversation with many people, where they go to their boss, and they say, "You know, I found the Lord, and I got to tell you something. I stole from you, and I cooked the books, and I took thousands of dollars, and I understand you'll need to fire me. And I'll do everything I can to pay you back." And on more than one occasion the boss is so flabbergasted he has to sit down with his mouth open. He said, "Now I've got at least one honest person working for me. I'm not firing you." And very rarely--I don't know of anyone that got prosecuted, because it's just like the Holy Spirit works on their hearts, so repentance is going to mean a reform and a transformation in life, amen? Doing the right thing. Confessing and forsaking our sin.

All right, well, we're out of time for our lesson. I want to remind you that we have a free offer. It's "The Day of the Lord" and if you just contact the number on your screen, dial... they will send that to you. This is a real quality magazine. It's filled with beautiful illustrations. After you read it you'll want to share and don't forget next week we're going to begin our study talking about "The Least of These," our new quarterly. God bless you, friends. We'll continue, God willing, to study His Word next week.

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♪♪♪ Doug: Friends, are you afraid of heights? If so, you might want to look away right now. One of the most famous attractions in the San Francisco Bay area is the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. While this world-famous bridge was named as one of the seven wonders of the modern world, few people know the story of the brave men who were involved in its construction and also known as the Halfway to Hell Club. Designed by a group of visionary engineers, at 4,200 feet from end to end the Golden Gate Bridge was at one time the longest suspension bridge in the world. During its construction from 1933 to 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge had one of the best safety construction records of any project during that time. Keep in mind they would factor in and calculate that one man would die for every million dollars that was spent, so with a budget of $35 million they knew that loss of life would be unacceptable.

This is why the chief engineer, Joseph B. Strauss, was absolutely adamant about using the most rigorous safety precautions that had ever been used in bridge building. He had a local manufacturer of safety equipment design special head gear that he insisted be worn on every job. This became the prototype for the modern hardhat, worn for the first time ever, but the safety precautions went even farther. Strauss provided a special hand and face cream to protect their skin from the cold, biting wind and glare-free goggles to protect their eyes. In addition, they also ate a special diet to help ward off dizziness when they were working at those epic heights, but the most conspicuous safety precaution was a gigantic net that was suspended from end to end under the entire construction area of the Golden Gate Bridge. In fact, during construction this net saved the lives of 19 men who later became known as the Halfway to Hell Club.

Now, you need to keep in mind these were some of the most dangerous construction conditions you can imagine. The wind was constantly blowing. They were walking around on iron that sometimes had ice from the freezing fog. In places they were over 700 feet above the icy waters, yet the men coming from all walks of life were willing to take these risks because it was during the Great Depression, and they would get paid up to $11 a day, which was a fortune back then. One of the other benefits of the net was they discovered that the men were much more courageous even though they were walking high on those slippery surfaces, because they knew there was a mechanism to protect them if they should fall. This gave them the confidence and the courage to press on and get the bridge built in record time.

You know, friends, as Christians we have a great work to do. The Bible tells us that we get to participate with Jesus in building a bridge that connects heaven and Earth and there are dangers along the way. The devil would like to paralyze us with fear that we might fall or make a mistake, but we know that Jesus has provided a safety net for us, and we don't have to be afraid. We can press on with confidence, because the promises in the book of Jude verse 24 he is able to keep us from falling. But sometimes we make mistakes. Still don't be discouraged, friends. If you read in 1 John chapter 2, verse 1 the Bible says if we fall, if we sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, so let's press on together and build that bridge with Christ.

♪♪♪ [crickets chirring] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [dog barking] ♪♪♪ [alarm ringing] ♪♪♪ child: Mommy, Daddy, help me. ♪♪♪ male: No, I don't think so. You didn't do very well on your report card this last quarter, so no. female: You haven't been pulling your weight around here lately. You want help? Well, I wanted help with the dishes last night. Help yourself. child: Huh? male: Honey, did you bring the marshmallows? [child coughing] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪

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