Blueprint for a Better World

Scripture: Leviticus 19:18, Exodus 3:7, Matthew 22:37-40
Date: 07/13/2019 
Lesson: 2
'How important is it to you that God is a God who sees the suffering of people in the world and hears their cries for help? What does this tell you about God?'

A Colossal City in Space - Paper or Download PDF

A Colossal City in Space - Paper or Download PDF
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Luccas Rodor: Hello and welcome to our "Sabbath School Study Hour" here in sunny Sacramento, California. It's so good to be here with you. Our lesson today is taught here at Granite Bay Seventh Day Adventist Church, also in partnership with Amazing Facts Ministries. I'd like to welcome everyone that's here this morning, also those who are joining us online around the world. It's so good to have you with us. Today we'll be studying lesson number two of our new lesson, which is "The Least Of These," and it's called "Blueprints For A Better World." Now, before we get into the study of the lesson, I'd like to offer you our quarterly. If you haven't had the chance yet of acquiring this quarterly, and it promises to be a very special quarterly, please go to our online quarterly given by the church. And, of course, you can acquire one of these also.

And before we begin our singing, I'd like to give you, I'd like to offer you and remind you of our free offer of the day, "A Colossal City In Space." If you've ever had any questions about what heaven is going to be like, I don't know if you know this, but one amazing fact about heaven is that it is bigger. It's larger than many countries in the world. So, if you ever have any questions about that, or if you'd like to understand more about that, you can, if you're in North America, you can call the number 866-788-3966 for a mail out, or you can text 40544 and you can text SH122, and we'll be happy to send that to you, a virtual copy of this, an online copy of this. If you're outside of North America, you can also go to and you can also acquire one of these. I'd like to invite our singers which will be leading us in song service this morning.

Singer: Good morning and happy Sabbath. The song we're going to sing this morning is number 47, all four verses, "God Who Made The Earth And Heaven," number 47.

♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪ God, who made the earth and heaven,

♪ ♪ Darkness and light: You the day for work have given,

♪ ♪ For rest the night.

♪ ♪ May your angel guards defend us, Slumber sweet

♪ ♪ your mercy send us,

♪ ♪ Holy dreams and hopes attend us All through the night.

♪ ♪ And when morn again shall call us To run life's way,

♪ ♪ May we still, whatever befall us, Your will obey.

♪ ♪ From the power of evil hide us, In the

♪ ♪ narrow pathway guide us,

♪ ♪ Never be your smile denied us All through the day.

♪ ♪ Guard us waking, guard us sleeping,

♪ ♪ And when we die, May we in your mighty

♪ ♪ keeping All peaceful lie.

♪ ♪ When the trumpet call shall wake us,

♪ ♪ Then, O Lord, do not forsake us,

♪ ♪ But to reign ♪ in glory take us

♪ ♪ With you on high.

♪ ♪ Holy Father, throned in heaven, All holy Son,

♪ ♪ Holy Spirit, freely given,

♪ ♪ Blest Three in One: Grant us grace,

♪ ♪ we now implore you, Till we lay our crowns before you

♪ ♪ And in worthier strains adore you while ages run.

Luccas: Please bow your head with me as we say a word of prayer. Dear Father God, we praise you for the opportunity and the privilege that we have of coming before you, Lord, and learning more about you. Thank you so much for this lesson that teaches us, Father, how to serve, serve others, serve the church, and serve you. Dear God, please bless Pastor Shawn, Pastor Brummund as he leads out for us this morning. Help us truly understand and incorporate in our lives the blueprints for a better world. I ask you this in Jesus's name, amen. As I've just mentioned, Pastor Shawn Brummund will be teaching our lesson for us this the Sabbath. The lesson title is "Blueprints for a Better World," and we understand that God left a lot for us to learn in the Bible of how to, even though in a fallen world, live a better life, treat others better, and ultimately serve God better. Pastor Shawn, may God bless you as you lead out for us this morning.

Pastor Shawn Brummund: Well, good morning to everyone. It's good to see everybody here in the Granite Bay Seventh Day Adventist Church and to be able to see so many familiar smiling faces. I know we can't see your smiling faces, you're watching our program either online or the different television networks, but we are always privileged to be able to know that we are sharing our Bible study session here on Sabbath morning with many people across the nation, across the world. So, a special hello to you as well, to all our friends out in internet and TV world. So, this morning, as Pastor Luccas has pointed out, we're looking at lesson number two of our quarterly, a new quarterly that we just began last week. And it's entitled, "The Least Of These," and we are looking at lesson number two, which I believe starts on page 14.

And so, I'm going to invite everybody to open up to page 14 because we're going to read a key verse that introduces this particular study and topic here this morning. And so, we're going to go right into the middle of that page, and you can go to your Bibles if you don't have a lesson study with you. Genesis chapter 12, verses 2 and 3, Genesis chapter 12, and verses 2 and 3. And so, let's read that instrumental verse here together. God is speaking to Abraham and he says, "And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. And all peoples of the earth will be blessed through you." And so, this is no small verse, is it? This is a calling. This is a calling of God to yet another prophet.

Now, is this the first prophet that God had called? No, if you've read your Bibles, you know that God had called a number of prophets. In fact, almost from the get-go ever since sin has become a problem here on earth, ever since the devil and his angels, his fallen angels, demons, have had full reign on this planet, we find that God has been working actively and calling and choosing different individuals through the centuries. We have Enoch in Adam's generation, the first generation of mankind. You know, we have others. We have Noah also was an instrumental figure and prophet for God far before Abraham came along. And so, when we read the calling of Abraham, we find here that it speaks volumes as to why God has called and why God has chosen different prophets through the centuries ever since sin, and evil, and the devil has been given that free reign here upon the planet. And so, God tells Abraham, "Listen, I am calling you, and I'm going to make a great nation out of you."

You know, that in itself is something special to be able to know, "Okay, I'm going to have children, first off, which can be a blessing. And second off, my great, great, great, great, great grandchildren are going to multiply to the point where they become their own country, their own nation." But God doesn't stop there, does He? What else does He say? God also goes on to tell us that indeed, God intends, not only to bless Abraham and his family, but through Abraham and his family, He intends to bless all nations so, would that include the entire world? Sure it would, wouldn't it? Okay, so this is the entire planet that God is speaking about. And so, that's why this particular verse and this particular calling of Abraham is so instrumental and tells us a very key truth in regards to prophets.

Now, you know, one of the interesting things is being a pastor is that over the years I've been exposed to probably, Oh, I'd say, estimate about a couple of dozen different people over the years that I've been in their homes, I've talked to them at church and such, and they'll share with me some personal epiphanies that they've had with God in the past. You know, some have even gone as far as saying, "You know, I've received a dream in the night, or some kind of vision of some kind that I have experienced," and more than once, they'll share about how that was instrumental in leading them to see that God is real, helping them to understand that God is, cares about their lives and loves them, and gives them a hope when they're at a very low point of their life and brings them into relationship with God. And some others have shared that it's brought them through a life experience sometime later on in life. Some people here, either in our church this morning or watching this particular program, have experienced some kind of a personal, supernatural experience with God, not to be called as a prophet like Abraham, or Noah, and Enoch, and so on, but nevertheless, a very real supernatural experience with God.

I myself have experienced that a couple of times. Now, I've never received a vision or a dream, but I have called, I would say it was strong enough that I would call it an epiphany. And some of the scholars will want to name it, which is an obvious personal experience with the supernatural God. The first time was when God called me to a relationship with Him. Some of you know that I was raised in a secular home. My parents had decided to leave religion all together by the time I was one, or two, or three years old, and so I have no recollection or exposure consciously to church or religion up until I was 20 years of age. But the age of 20 was a low point. I had tried a number of the different things that the world had told me would give me satisfaction, would give me joy, happiness, fulfillment, and all of it came up empty.

And so, I was at a really low point as I was very discouraged with my life and with the world. And I was driving down the highway, and I can specifically remember that God gave me this experience, and I never heard an audible voice, but I knew it was a voice and an intelligence outside of myself and said, "Shawn, I want you to check out this church thing. I want you to start going to a church." And it took me about a month before I actually started going because I thought you had to be a member to go to church. That's how unknowing I was of the whole Christian world and church world and so I said, "Well, I don't want to get kicked out. I want to go in and they'll say, "Sorry, only members here." And so finally, I saw a little church in one neighborhood and it had a sign it says, "All welcome Sunday services 8:30 and 10:30." And so, I showed up with gusto 8:30 every Sunday morning. And fortunately, the pastor was a very dynamic pastor. He was still excited about the Bible, and was preaching from the Bible. And so, the Lord, I believe, had guided me to that experience. And from there I met Denise that same summer, and she brought me to her church, the Missionary Alliance Church in Canada. And then we continued to go through different churches until we found the Seventh Day Adventist Church. And so, we continue to grow, you know? But if it wasn't for that epiphany, I don't believe that I probably would have stepped into a church. If it wasn't for that voice of God, that experience that I had outside of myself.

Now, the second time that I had that experience was when God called me into ministry. Now, this doesn't happen to everybody that's called into ministry. God works in mysterious and different ways. But with me, I guess He wanted me to put my seatbelt on because I was barely in the baptismal waters and He said, "Shawn, I want you to be a preacher and an evangelist." And again, there's a specific time, and a specific room, on a specific couch that I was lying and praying before the Lord when He spoke to me. So, I know that more of one of us that are studying here with us together today have had that kind of experience. But prophets are a little bit different in the fact that they're not just getting the supernatural experiences with God for their personal benefit but as Abraham is being told here, he tells us that God calls prophets to benefit other people. God has called them to minister to those outside of themselves and to bless them, to show people the genuine truth and expose Satan's lies, expose Satan's deceptions, and give people an opportunity to be able to know the truth about God, who He is, what He's done, what He's doing, what He's going to do, and the hope of eternal life that He gives to us. And so, thank God for prophets, amen?

Thank God that God is actively, and has been actively choosing individuals to be able to bless, even as He did with Abraham's generation. Of course, we're still benefiting from the life of Abraham and his prophetic ministry because we're reading, and we have the preserved records, the sacred records, of the messages that God had given to him. You know, when we look at Jesus Himself, He came not to be served but to, but to serve as He told his disciples toward the ends of his earthly life. Just shortly before He was crucified, He was trying to teach His disciples, His first followers that important message that God has called him as a servant. He didn't come into the world to have everybody wait on Him. No, He came to wait on others. Is that your attitude? Do we not call, be called to have the same attitude as the prophets? We may not be called to give visions and messages from God, but nevertheless, God has called us to have that same attitude, to know that we are called as servants, and that the greatest of those in the kingdom of heaven are those who serve the most. And so, there's a great principle that we can draw out of that, and Jesus shared that as we find it in the book of Mark, chapter 10, and verse 45.

Well, of course, Jesus said, not only did He not come to be served but to serve, but He also came to give His life a ransom for many. And so, the ransom that He gave, that death on the cross, the penalty that He paid on that cross when He allowed the nails to go through His, through His hands, through His wrists, and through His feet, when He gave up His Spirit, His life on that, on that cross with all of the, of the horrible feelings and emotions that He had, feeling forsaken from His Father himself. We find that Jesus did it all for you and I. Again, not for his benefit. Well, ultimately it was because he says, "I am looking forward to the fruits of My sacrifice." But first and foremost, He was thinking of you, wasn't He? First and foremost, He was thinking of me, and that's the God that we serve and that's the model that God gives to us in this life.

But did Jesus come simply and only to be sacrificed? Well, if it was only that, He would have just kind of kept pushing the limit and bringing up the, you know, turning up the heat instead of as He so often did, "Don't tell people what I said, or don't tell people that I'm the Christ, and don't advertise too strongly the miracles that I'm doing," because he wanted to keep the heat level down low enough that He was able to minister for three-and-a-half years before He was finally apprehended and crucified. But, of course, He wanted to minister for three-and-a-half years before He died for the sin of the world. And what is one of the key reasons why He did that? Somebody said their example, yes, He wanted to set an example. "I've come to fulfill all righteousness," Jesus said at His baptism. And so, Jesus came along that He might be able to model a perfectly righteous and holy life for you and I, a perfectly loving life for you and I as well. And so, that's important.

Another statement that Jesus made at the end of His life as He was just hours from being crucified was a statement that He made before a very powerful man and ruler in Israel, in Jerusalem. His name was Pontius Pilate, he was the governor. And he tells us that Jesus came to--Jesus told him, I should say, that he also came to clarify the truth. You see, by the time Jesus came onto the scene, Israel had left and departed largely from the truth that God had revealed through His prophets that were recorded in the Old Testament Scriptures. And so, Jesus came to testify, to witness what the truth really was. He cut through a lot of darkness. He cut through a lot of traditions that had buried the light of God, and he had brought it back to light. In fact, we have a volunteer that's going to read for us here and the text is John chapter 18, and verse 37. And so, we're going to invite our volunteer to read that here this morning.

Female: John 18:37, "Pilate therefore said to Him, 'Are you a king then?' Jesus answered, 'You say rightly that I am a King, for this cause I was born and for this cause, I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is in--who is of the truth hears My voice.'"

Shawn: All right, so here Jesus is not only declaring that He is a King, He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, amen? And so, that's important. And He wasn't going to deny this truth. Now, of course, Pontius Pilate must have been quite puzzled about that because most kings didn't act and accept what he was accepting, as far as the mockery, the beatings, the eventual crucifixion and such. But nevertheless, Jesus made it clear that Pontius Pilate might walk away knowing that he had been with the King of kings of the universe. But it also tells us that Jesus told Pontius Pilate that, "I have come that I might bear witness of the, of the truth." And so, Jesus wanted to set the record straight. Jesus wanted to reset that which had been distorted in so many different ways.

You know, one of the best ways to summarize all that Jesus brought to humanity is found in a text that became a text for me. It was the signature one. It was the first one that I memorized. It was the first one that jumped off the pages of the Bible as a new Christian in those first year or two that I was opening the Scriptures and reading through the gospels. And when I came through the Gospel of John and I came to John 10:10, that just described my experience that I had found as a young man. And Jesus says in John 10:10, some of you know it by memory. You know, "the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy."

Now, this is a metaphorical passage we're quoting from and so Jesus is metaphorically representing the thief as Satan himself. And He says, "Listen, Satan doesn't come except to kill, and steal, and destroy but I," He says, "I have come that they might have life and have it that they might have it more abundantly." And so, many of us here today if you weren't raised in the abundant life and known it all your life, which is even a more wonderful experience, by the way. Never be envious of us old guys that, you know, that kind of came in later in life and think, "Oh boy, I wish I'd had that contrast, that kind of gangs to God experience because there's a great, great disadvantage to having that gangs to God kind of experience and conversion because now you have all those horrible memories that you have to carry through the rest of your life. You know, there's many things that I did, I was very, very ashamed, still I'm ashamed of today. And so, I'd do anything to be able to erase my life and to be able to do it different, and to know that abundant life all my life, to have that advantage. But some of us have come later in. God doesn't give up on us even if we didn't know that abundant life earlier. God brings us into that abundant life, if we allow Him to, if we respond to His voice.

And so, the first key, of course, in our study, the one thing that we want to pull away more than anything is that God is calling each and every individual, and He's calling you and He wants you to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And you're no exception. No matter what you've done, no matter what shameful things you have in your past or even in your present, God wants to accept you just as you are and He wants you to have a personal saving relationship with Him. He wants to forgive you. He wants to give you a new start.

Well, as we look at the life of Jesus, we find that Jesus played the role of a prophet to be sure. Over and over he says, "My Father, I do not say the things that I think, but rather I am speaking the word of My Father." Over and over he kept saying, "Listen, I am giving you messages from My Father." But, of course, Jesus was, had a special relationship with His Father and the fact that He was the eternal Son of God. And so, He was God Himself incarnate. He was God Himself cloaked in human flesh. And so, Jesus was speaking the words of His Father, but the words of His Father, of course, we know as we read the teachings of Jesus, was also the words of the mind of Jesus Himself. Towards the end of His life He says, "You have seen me, you have seen the Father." You know, as Philip or Thomas had asked him, you know, says, "Father, you know, Jesus, if you just show us the Father, we will be satisfied." And Jesus says, "I already have, for the Father and I are eternally one." And, of course, then Jesus was also the Savior of the world, the only one that could die for the sins of the world. And so, Jesus played the role of the prophet like Abraham, but He was much more than that.

Now, when we look at Abraham, we find that Abraham was more than an average prophet as well. You know, most prophets that we find, you know, Hosea and Jeremiah, and Daniel, and some of these others, you know, there's dozens of them in the Bible. And all of them were called with supernatural messages and visions and dreams to be able to give to God's people and ultimately to the world. But with Abraham, he was called to play the role of a prophet, but he was also called for another high calling, and that is that he was going to be the great patriarch, he was going to be the father of a nation. Now, there was others that God had called and had prophesied and said, "They will be fathers of nations."

You know, on Tuesday night study, we've been studying recently and verse by verse through Genesis, and we discovered that Esau also was to develop a nation. And there's other examples of that as well. So, this is not unusual or isolated just with Abraham, but Abraham's nation was to be different. The Bible reveals that about 2,000 years before Jesus came, God called Abraham to be a prophet, yes, but He had also called him to be the Father of the great grand plan that Jesus had, that the Father had with His Son and the Holy Spirit, to be able to bring together a country that would be unique from every other country upon the planet. It would be a grand plan that God had to preserve the truth and to use that particular nation to model the blessings and the power that God can give to a nation when they give themselves over to God. When they make God, their only a king and ruler in their country. God was to develop a people and country that He would custom make. You know, the other countries, Esau, God just let him run his reign, you know, run his course and do his thing and his descendants' thing, but not so with Abraham, not so with the descendants of Abraham.

Now, in order for God to be able to fulfill this particular plan, he had to look upon the planet and pick some key real estate. He knows that every nation needs some place to live and so as He looked upon the real estate of this particular planet, He looked at what we now call the Middle East. And He looked along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea between the sea and the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee, a good water source just a stone's throw from the Euphrates River, which was a key traveling and trade route. And God chose what we, even today, call modern Israel. And so, God looked down upon the land of Canaan as it was called, and He said, "Listen, we--I'm going to choose this particular part of the planet." And this was not arbitrarily. God had chosen it for a very specific reason, why? Because as it turns out in the ancient world, Israel, where Israel, the land of Canaan, as it was first called, was not only a very fertile plain where you have the the River Jordan and the Sea of Galilee there for all kinds of irrigation, blessings, and benefits. But even more importantly, was the crossroads of the ancient world.

And when you look at the globe and it's flat--or a map of the world, and it's kind of flat source, you know, not that I'm saying that the world is flat, don't get me wrong. Got to be careful nowadays because there's a returning trend back to a flat world theory, but if you look at a flat map that represents the round world, we find that there's Israel and to the right when you're looking at the map, which is the east, you have? You have the Asian continent, don't you? You have India, and China, and all the like over on that direction. And then when you look to the north and to the west, you have? You have Europe, don't you? Okay, another great continent in that part of the world. And then if you go to the south, you have Africa, some of you are saying. All right, so then you have Africa. And so, as you have these three great continents coming together, you have this intersection, which is Israel. And so, this was a major, major cross--trade crossroads.

Now, is that because God wanted to just make everybody in Israel rich so that they can have a big party for centuries? No. Now, He certainly wanted to bless them and make them prosperous, that was part of the deal. But much more importantly, God had intended for them to be at the crossroads of the known world back then because He wanted to expose as many people and nations to this grand plan that He had, this grand nation and model that would show the world the great blessings and power that can come from following the true God of heaven, and from following in the truth. Now, there's the real estate, there's the part of the world that God had chosen, but who would be its citizens? Well, we've already kind of looked at that. Abraham's descendants would be the descendant--the citizens of this new unique nation that God was developing. And, of course, the ultimate citizen that would eventually come out of those citizens would be the Messiah, Jesus Christ Himself, the Savior of the world, you know, the lion of the tribe of Judah, the descendant of King David. Yes, and so, Abraham had a great privilege with his prophetic calling, and it was a key privilege.

Now, most importantly, as God was developing this particular nation, God would be their only King, and all civil laws were not created. As we're used to here in America or in the U.S., where we looked at Congress to make our laws. No, the laws that were developed and were to run civilly, morally, ethically. And in regards to health, finances, everything was actually created by God. And so, God gave them the Ten Commandments, and He also gave them what we call the law of Moses. Now, we don't want to get confused and think that because we call it the law of Moses, Moses came up with it. We don't want to get confused and think that it was his development. No, he was simply the messenger. Moses was a prophet, and God told them, each and every one of those 613 additional laws that were to run the country and to help the country of Israel understand, "What do I do if my neighbor steals my cow? What do I do if somebody in my neighborhood is killed?" What--excuse me? "What do I do when these different things take place?" And so, God gave the whole civil and justice system laid out through His prophet Moses for this nation that He would develop.

Now, of course, because every law was created by God, were those laws perfect? Yes, of course, they were, weren't they? Okay, every law that we pass at Congress, is it always perfect? Not so much, okay? Some of them are pretty good and we'd like to put our confidence in our leaders and in collective wisdom and so on. But even with collective human wisdom, collective human wisdom, even amongst some of our greatest leaders and thinkers that we have, can never come up with the perfect justice system that God can come up with. And so, God was developing something very unique in the nation of Israel. There's a good example of that and it's actually found in our lesson study but if you have your Bibles only, turn to Leviticus chapter 19, and verse 18. You'll find that's our memory text as well on the first page of the lesson, and we're going to have a volunteer read that for us as well. Thank you, Rachel.

Rachel: Leviticus 19, verse 18, "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord."

Shawn: Okay, so here we have the first penning and giving of one of the most instrumental laws that God gave to the Israelites, and that is to love your neighbor as yourself. Now, that brings up a bit of a side note that I just, you know, as a pastor of the Adventist Church and a student of the Bible, evangelist, I can't help but just address that a little bit because that particular commandment, there's many Christians, sincere Christians, that I've met that are confused about that particular commandment because they understand that the Ten Commandments of God were replaced by the two greatest commandments that Jesus was, had stated during his public ministry. He says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your soul, your strength and your mind." And then he said the second is like it, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." And so, many sincere Christians believe that Jesus made those up at that moment and said, "This is the new law for the New Testament." And that just simply doesn't hold water when you read the Bible because you discover that Jesus didn't make up that second commandment. No, He was quoting from Leviticus chapter 19, and verse 18. And so, it's important for us to understand that Jesus didn't say that's a New Testament, new covenant commandment, a replacement commandment. No, he says, "Don't forget that that's the second most important of the commandments." And so, that's important for us to understand.

Ancient Israel was the most unique nation to ever be created in history because of its origins and also because of the purpose that God had for it. You know, during the first years of my Christian experience, I didn't know almost anything about the Bible. I was kind of starting from ground zero, and as I exposed to different Christian conversations, and different denominations, and churches that Denise and I were exploring, having conversations with Denise raised in the Lutheran Church, and reading the Bible, you know, in a limited basis, we started to think to ourselves, why is God so, so biased towards the Israelites, and towards Israel, and to the Jewish people, but He doesn't really seem to show that favoritism to the rest? He kind of seems to have favorites in the world, and His favorites is the ones that he kind of pours out all of his attention, and his blessings, and so on. And the rest of us just kind of get the crumbs that fall off the table and such. And so, God didn't appear very fair and almost like a form of predestination. If you were born a Jew, you had it made. If you weren't born a Jew, well, tough luck.

And I think--I don't think I was alone. I think there's more than one thinking Christian and worshiper of God that is saying, "You know, why is it that God seems to, you know, show favoritism to one particular nation and people? And as I read the Bible completely through, I found out that that really wasn't the case at all. The problem was that I hadn't read the Bible through yet and so, there's a very good case for us here today and that case is this, is it important for us as individual Christians to read the Bible through as a whole ourselves personally? It is, I'm glad I heard a number of voices speak up and say that because it is absolutely critical and essential to make the Bible your own.

You know, we don't want to fall into the trap of the Roman Church tradition, which kind of developed to the point where they say, "Listen, only the priest is required to read the Bible as a whole, and he is the only one that is authorized to interpret it." So, if you're not reading the Bible and you've never read it through yourself, you're actually following more of the Catholic tradition, than you are the biblical tradition. And so, please, I want to encourage you, this is a challenge. If you haven't read the Bible through, read it for yourself. Make it your own. See the the answers that God will give to you. This is one of the answers that God gave to me is that, that God actually had intended Israel, not to be exclusive, not to be these kind of favorites that God would kind of pour everything, his attention on. No, God was pouring his extra attention on them so that they could draw others into their fold, and they too can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That was the original origin and purpose of God calling Abraham the Israelite nation.

And so, I discovered in the law of Moses, the very first writer of the Bible, that in his writings, God had instructed him very clearly to put important accommodations for non-Jewish people, for Gentiles, to be fully integrated into the Israelite citizenship, to be heirs of God's kingdom, and to be fully called a worshiper of Yahweh, of the God of Israel. I also found mission statements for Israel in the book of Isaiah. One of the key ones is found in Isaiah chapter 56. And so again, I want to invite you to open your Bibles here this morning as we look at Isaiah chapter 56. And we're going to start with verse 3, Isaiah 56, and let's start with verse 3. And we're going to read right through to the end of verse 7, so stay with me. It says, "Do not let the son of the foreigner Who has joined himself to the Lord speak, saying, 'The Lord has utterly separated me from His people'; Nor let the eunuch say, 'Here I am, a dry tree.' For thus says the Lord: 'To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, Even to them I will give in My house And within My walls a place and a name.'"

Okay, that's a name in His kingdom, citizenship. "Better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name That shall not be cut off." How encouraging, verse 6 says, "Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants. Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And holds fast My covenant, even them I will bring to My holy mountain, I will make them joyful in My house of prayer." Where's His house of prayer? The holy temple of Jerusalem itself, yeah. "Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for," how many nations? For all nations. Now, for many of us, as we read that particular statement and prophecy of Isaiah, we think immediately of the scene of Jesus when He comes into the courtyard of the temple. And as he's in the open courtyard of the temple in the area of the temple mountain, and such surrounding the temple, we find that He cleanses the temple. And He goes through and He overturns the moneychangers, and He lets the different sacrificial animals go, not because He didn't believe in the sacrificial system, He's the one that created it as a symbol pointing forward to the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus. But the problem was that they had turned it into a marketplace. The problem was that it was just a big noisy marketplace, and they were there just to try to make as big a profit as possible no matter how much they defiled the court and the temple. And it was just a noise, a noisy place.

And so, we find here that Jesus, of course, tried to get involved. He very clearly got the message across that, "Listen, My house was not called to be a marketplace or a den of thieves, but rather it was called to be a house of prayer for all nations, all nations." And so, this is no small prophecy that Isaiah was given. It was the mission statement of the nation of Israel. And so, one of the exciting things that I discovered again as I went through the entire Old Testament, not only Isaiah but many others, Jonah is another outstanding example where God has called His prophets to speak, not only the Israelites, but also those outside of the borders of Israel, why? Because God has revealed very clearly in the Bible as an International God. God has been working with every nation across the world. God has been trying to draw with all His strength and with all His power, each and every nation that exists today and ever has. God is interested in working with each nation and individual that has always lived upon the planet, why? Because he's always been interested in having a personal relationship with every single human being that has ever lived. And so, it's important for to be able to see that Bible truth that God can be seen for who he is, and Israel can be seen for what God had intended it to be.

Now, that being said, we just don't have time to be able to address another issue. I'd love to spend another half hour on it, and we're kind of touching on it as we look at the nation of Israel because we're looking at ancient Israel. But then we ask the question, what about modern Israel? Does modern Israel still play a part? Well, it might, I'm not saying it won't play a part. It certainly will play a part because it has been stewards of God's Scriptures. But one of the saddest statements that Jesus made before He was crucified is that He would take--He would remove the kingdom from the nation of Israel, and He would give it to another nation delivering the fruits thereof. You know why? Because God tried everything He could to be able to work through the nation of Israel. But sadly, there was only small windows of time over the centuries where they fulfilled their purpose, where they fulfill that model that God wanted them to be, the evangelists of the world, the light on a hill. And sadly, even when Jesus came to His own, His own accepted Him not, as it says in the first chapter of the Gospel of John. And so sadly, Jesus says, "Listen, because of your choice, not mine, I need to remove the kingdom from your--your purpose from you, and now give it to another nation, and that nation is a nation without borders."

You know, Peter later on reiterated that said, "Listen, we are a holy nation. You know, we are a priesthood. You know, we are living stones that are called to be the light to the world, the salt of the earth." And so, Peter was pointing to a new nation of Israel, a spiritual Israel. Now again, if you want to study this further, and I've opened up a bit of a can of worms. If you've never studied it, I hope it's enough to get your interest. But I want to recommend that you go to Amazing Facts store which is That's A-F as in facts, And you can find there an, order, a little booklet. It's called "Spiritual Israel." And it's written by Pastor Doug Batchelor and Steve Wohlberg. It's a really good read, really well done. I highly recommend it if you've never studied that before.

Well, what's some examples in the Bible times, in Old Testament times, where God had used Israel in a successful way to bring those outside of Israel, those who are not Jews, into a relationship with God? Well, a couple that came to my mind, one of his whole book is named after her. Her name is Ruth, and Ruth was a Moabite, a Moabitess, I guess we could call her. And she had married a Israelite young man, as their family had needed to go to Moab and live there for a time during a famine in Israel. And we find that Ruth's mother-in-law was widowed. And so, the widow was required to go back to Israel to be able to find sustenance, to be able to find a way to be able to feed herself. And so, she went back and she told her sons and her daughter-in-laws, "Listen, you can stay here." Ruth said, "No, I choose to go with you. I accept your God, and I want to worship God. I want Him to be my God, even as I accepted Him in my heart." And so, we find that there's a beautiful story how she became an Israelite.

The Queen of Sheba, the most powerful window in Israel's history when they fulfilled that great purpose that God had is that they were doing so well spiritually in wisdom and prosperity, that it was drawing the attention that God had always intended for Israel of the nations around them. You know, rumors started to spread fast through the nations of that part of the world, in Africa, and Europe, and in Asia. And they started to hear about this great King Solomon in this little tiny country called Israel that was more powerful than some of the largest countries that existed in the world. And so, we have the Queen of Sheba that comes up now. Where's Sheba? If you look on the map, you'll find that there's Saudi Arabia. And then just below there, there's a little strip before the ocean there, and it's called Yemen. And so, modern Yemen is where Sheba used to exist. And so, we find that this Queen of the south, as Jesus referred to her, came up and she wanted to hear for herself from this great famous King. And when she was finished with her visit, she said to the King, "Listen, you know, you have outlived or you have outdone, the rumors. I've heard rumors that I found hard to believe, but I find that your wisdom and the prosperity, and the fulfillment of your people is greater than the rumors that I've heard." And so, you think the Queen of Sheba went back with God in her heart in a real way? Well, the evidence shows us that there's a much higher chance that she became a lifetime worshiper of Yahweh after that experience. In fact, Jesus gives us some of that evidence in Matthew chapter 12, and verse 42. It says, "The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here." And so, Jesus rebukes His nation, rebukes His generation of Israelites, and He says, "Listen, you know, the Queen of Sheba was more openhearted to the workings of God and her day than you are in My day, and I'm doing greater things than Solomon did." And so, we give some strong evidence that the Queen of Sheba's heart was wide open to have relationship with God, more than likely brought it back to her nation and shared it with others in her country.

Well, after the children of Abraham reproduced for over 400 years in Egypt, God had delivered them out of some cruel slavery that they had fallen into during those centuries that they were spending there. And now the children of Israel were so great that most Bible evidence points as to approximately 3 million people that existed that were the descendants of Abraham. God had developed them large enough that they could become their own genuine country and, of course, He'd already chosen the spot. He settles them in, but on the way to the land of Canaan to the Promised Land, God does something very important. He reveals to them the greatest primary universal eternal code of ethics, that was given both audibly and in written form on stone to the Israelites. It was like the constitution, as the lesson study points up for us, the constitution for this new budding founded nation that God Himself had founded. And the very foundation of it, the very foundation of its government that God gave was so important that not only did He write it on stone giving it an extra strong message of its important and foundation, but He also audibly spoke from the Mountain of Sinai. And the Israelites, with their own ears, had heard God's voice speak and thunder these great commandments. And then He gave it for permanent record in a golden box, or ark, as it's called, that was put in the most holy room of the great holy sanctuary of the Israelites.

How many here can recite the Ten Commandments? All right, I see two or three people. Now, this is, I'm not asking this to shame you, but I'm asking it to challenge you. If this is so important, and God wants to write it upon our hearts, should we know them? Sure, we should be able to list them off. If we don't know it up here, how can God write it down here? And so, it's very important for us to be able to take this seriously. So, let's say it together, "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself any carved images of any likeness of anything in heaven, and the earth, and the sea or under the earth, and you shall not bow down to them, nor serve them. For I the Lord your God am a jealous God visiting upon the iniquity of the fathers to the children, to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but at the same time, showing mercy to thousands to those who love Me and keep My commandments." Yes, got that one. That's the longest one, isn't it?

Second one or the third one is, "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless." He uses his name in vain. Then we come to another long one, but an important one. "Remember the Sabbath day," this universal Sabbath day that God created in Genesis in Adam and Eve's day. "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it, you shall do no work, you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your cattle, nor the strangers within your gates. For in six days the Lord created the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord bless the seventh day and hallowed it." That's the second longest one. Then we come to the fifth one, "Honor your father and mother that the days may be long in the land that the Lord your God has given you." That's an important one. Don't want to forget that one. Then we come to the sixth one, "You shall not, you shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." In other words, be honest, don't lie. And the last one, "You shall not covet your neighbor's house, your neighbor's wife," your neighbor's ox, their donkey, their car, their Mercedes, there RV, or anything that is your neighbors, right?

And so, there it is, if I can do it, you can do it, can't you? And so, there's your challenge. Go home and take that constitution because that was not only the constitution for the Israelites in literally Israel, but now Peter says there is a spiritual Israel. We are a holy nation, a royal priesthood, and we are called to bring that great constitution to those around us and help them to know that that is the very foundation of having a prosperous, happy life. And God wants to write that upon our hearts.

How much I wish we had more time, but we don't this particular study. And so, we're going to have to wrap it up here for our study today. But if you have not taken advantage or you missed the beginning of our program, I want to invite you to take advantage of our free offer, which is Offer Number 115. It's entitled "The Colossal City In Space." And so, take advantage of this free, very informative Bible study guide. And the number is on the screen that you can call. You can also text the code SH122 and dial that to 40544. And so, God bless you and we look forward to seeing you next week.

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Announcer: Amazing Facts, Changed Lives.

Brittany: I was addicted to all different types of things. I finally hit rock bottom when I got pulled over one night after having a night of partying with some friends. I was drunk, high on ecstasy, and I realized then that I had to make a change.

Vince: I was in the military and listening to very satanic music every day and heard this whisper, and carve 666 in my knuckles. I contemplated on it a while, and I was sitting at my desk and I had my knife on me. And I started carving the horizontal lines for the sixes in my index finger first with serrated edges and started to enjoy it. I wanted to make it known who I wanted to follow actually, not knowing I was following Satan at the time, just I thought it was a cool thing to do.

Brittany: So, I met this guy online, and that was my husband Vince. And I noticed his ears. And we started talking and he was just adorable.

Vince: Flew down and actually met her here in Arizona.

Brittany: And at that point, I found out quickly after we met that I was pregnant.

Vince: So, shortly after our daughter was born, it was a very exciting moment, but nurses and doctors noticed something right away that she was extremely orange with jaundice.

Brittany: And she ended up in the hospital very sick, and it was extremely hard on us. We were teenagers, we were scared, our baby was sick. I was someone that was very angry. And at that point, we were in the hospital room, and I remember a chaplain coming in and speaking with the people since it was like a conjoined room we had a roommate. And the chaplain had said, you know, if they could pray for the other family. And that's when I knew that there was my chance. I had to take that opportunity. And I asked my husband, "Should I go talk to him?"

Vince: I said, "No way." I wanted nothing to do with God. I wanted nothing to do with talking to this chaplain.

Brittany: I decided that I was going to get up anyway. And I got up and you could tell he was very angry that I decided to walk over. And I went to the chaplain and I asked him to come over and speak to us, and he did.

Vince: And he came in, and we asked him questions, and he actually came to visit us every single day.

Brittany: The chaplain that we met with mentioned Amazing Facts study guides and just the ministries.

Vince: He showed us videos and study guides from Amazing Facts, specifically. It was on final events and cosmic conflict. And at that point, we had transferred hospitals to an outpatient hospital, and we were able to watch these videos. And we were hooked on them.

Brittany: It was a huge blessing. We would watch Pastor Doug, and we would sit up late at night watching sermons. And we, we were just teenagers. Most kids our age were out doing crazy things and here we are at home with popcorn, chocolate bars, watching Pastor Doug.

Pastor Ben Lundquist: This young couple came into the Camelback Church holding a beautiful little baby. And this was one of the first times that I had ever met Vince and Brittany.

Vince: We needed somebody to show us that they loved us, that they supported us, and Pastor Ben was there giving us Bible studies on marriage counseling, as well as baptism.

Brittany: I was still smoking and drinking lightly, and a few things along those lines. And it was one day when I woke up on February 15, 2011 after watching many sermons on "Amazing Facts" from Pastor Doug and having a really solid church family that I was able to say no more. And from that day on, I stopped all of my addictions.

Pastor Charles White: And ultimately their lives began to take on just a new dimension of congruity because Jesus was there, and He was the one that was bringing that sense of belonging, and hope, and help.

Brittany: We decided to get baptized and married, and we got baptized one day and married the next, and it was an amazing experience.

Ben: And we found a spot by the lake and it was absolutely perfect. The evening was coming to a close, the sun was about ready to go down.

Vince: We were standing in the water with Pastor Ben, and the sky was such a deep red, the reflections off the moon, the sky was almost as if we were standing in blood. We were washed in the blood of Jesus.

Ben: And that was the moment that God painted the canvas of the sky with the most beautiful colors, signifying the journey that he was going to be laying out for Vince and Brittany.

Vince: Shortly after we were baptized, about a month later, we had realized that my scars were gone. I was completely healed physically of not having the 666 on my knuckles anymore. And I struggled with that for so long because of what I did, and He forgave me.

Pastor Malcolm Douglas: Many times when we think of the way that we've been led to Christ, we think there's usually one individual but having been able to work alongside Pastor Ben and Pastor White, it's been great to see how we've been able to work with Brittany and Vincent and seen them just really grow. And this has really been something that's been beneficial to me. You know, sometimes I think about this and the Bible says, "More blessed is he who gives than receives." And I feel many times more blessed just seeing them and seeing all the challenges they've gone through, all the difficulties, and seeing them overcome these things. It just, it amazes me.

Vince: As I reflect back on everything I've done in my life, completely going against God, wanting nothing to do with Him, He still tried so hard, as if I was the only one that was lost, just as He promises. He still went and found me, even though I wanted nothing to do with Him.

Brittany: Having Amazing Facts and the pastors in our lives help us so much, it's really a blessing and I feel like now we're happy. And we have these two healthy, beautiful little girls, and God has truly blessed us. And I just want to share it with everyone. I want to scream it. I'm so excited, and I feel really blessed to even have this opportunity to share my story. ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪

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