Living the Gospel

Living the Gospel

Scripture: Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 8:20-23, John 3:16
Date: 09/07/2019  Lesson: 10
'We can accept that God loves people other than just ourselves. He loves those we love, and we rejoice in that. He also loves those we reach out to, and our recognition of this truth is often our motivation for our own reaching out to them. But He also loves those whom we are uncomfortable with, or even afraid of. God loves all people, everywhere, even those whom we might not particularly like.'

How Perfect Must a Christian Be? - DVD or Digital Download

How Perfect Must a Christian Be? - DVD or Digital Download
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Jëan Ross: Good morning, friends. Welcome to "Sabbath School Study Hour" here at the Granite Bay Seventh Adventist Church in Sacramento, California. I would like to welcome our online members who tune in week after week as well as our friends who are joining us across the country and around the world and, of course, our regular Sabbath School members, those of you who are here in person. We're delighted that you're here this morning, ready to study together. Today, we're going to continue our study in our lesson quarterly. It's entitled "The Least of These: Ministering to Those in Need." And lesson number ten is an important study. It's entitled "Living the Gospel," so that's lesson number ten in our lesson quarterly. For those of you who are joining us who might not have a lesson quarterly but you'd like to study along with us, you could just simply go to Lesson.aftv.org and you'll be able to download lesson number ten. Again, that's Lesson.aftv.org, download lesson number ten, and you'll be able to study along with us.

Well, before we get to our study, we like to let our friends know about a free offer that we have. It's a sermon DVD entitled "How Perfect Must a Christian Be?" Good question. "How Perfect Must a Christian Be?" If you'd like to receive a free copy of this DVD, the number to call is 866-788-3966 and ask for offer number 863 or you're able to text the code "SH117" to the number 40544 and you'll be able to download a digital copy of the sermon. Again, it's entitled "How Perfect Must a Christian Be?" Very important subject.

Well, before we get to our study this morning, going to invite our song leaders to come and they'll be leading us in our song for Sabbath School today.

♪ ♪ Oh, there'll be joy when the work is done,

♪ ♪ Joy when the reapers gather home,

♪ ♪ Bringing the sheaves at set of sun

♪ ♪ To the New Jerusalem.

♪ ♪ Joy, joy, there'll be joy by and by,

♪ ♪ joy, joy, where the joys never die.

♪ ♪ Joy, joy, for the day draweth nigh when

♪ ♪ The workers gather home.

♪ ♪ Sweet are the songs that we hope to sing,

♪ ♪ Ggrateful the thanks our hearts shall bring,

♪ ♪ Praising forever Christ our King

♪ ♪ In the New Jerusalem.

♪ ♪ Joy, joy, there'll be joy by and by,

♪ ♪ Joy, joy, where the joys never die.

♪ ♪ Joy, joy, for the day draweth nigh

♪ ♪ When the workers gather home.

♪ ♪ Pure are the joys that await us there,

♪ ♪ Many the golden mansions fair;

♪ ♪ Jesus Himself doth them prepare

♪ ♪ in the New Jerusalem.

♪ ♪ Joy, joy, there'll be joy by and by,

♪ ♪ Joy, joy, where the joys never die.

♪ ♪ Joy, joy, for the day draweth nigh

♪ ♪ When the workers gather home.

Jëan: Let's bow our heads for prayer. Dear Father in heaven, we thank You for the opportunity to gather together on this Your Sabbath day, opening up our Bibles and studying together an important theme we find throughout the Bible, that of living our faith and being the gospel in living form, revealing the love of Jesus to others. So bless our time together for we ask this in Jesus's name, amen.

Our lesson today is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at the Granite Bay Church. If you didn't know, it's Pastor Doug.

Doug Batchelor: We're continuing in our study talking about "The Least of These," and in today's study we're talking about "Living the Gospel," lesson number ten. We have a memory verse and the memory verse is from Ephesians chapter 2, verse 8 through 10. I bet a lot of you probably already know this verse by heart. But I'd encourage you to go ahead and say it with me. It's Ephesians 2:8 through 10, New King James Version. Are you ready? "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

So living the gospel. On the streets we used to say, "They're not just talking the talk, they're," what? "They're walking the walk." And more people have been turned away from Christianity because of hypocrisy, people who, they put on the mask of Christianity but they don't really live the life. The Lord is--it's great that we come to church and I wish more people would do it more faithfully, but even more important than that is that we live like Christians through the week. And that they say character is that you're the same person when you're alone as you are around others, that you are, of course, unless you're ornery, then you're just an ornery character. But if you're a good person, you want to be good, you want to be honest, whether people are watching or not, because you have integrity. And Christians should be living out the gospel that way. And people want to see Christianity with skin on it, as they say.

Now, in our first section it talks about, "For God so loved," and it's based on John 3:16. Now when it says, "For God so loved," it says, "For God so loved the world," I used to wonder. I'd say, "Well, Lord, didn't You say, 'Love not the world'?" This is in 1 John chapter 2. "'Love not the world or the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father's not in him,' and then You say, 'For God so loved the world.' Well, which is it, Lord? Are we supposed to love the world or not love the world?" And there's really two different meanings here. When we talk about worldliness, God does not want us to be worldly and love worldliness but the word that's used here in John 3:16 is the word "cosmos," and it means the creation and the people in the creation. "God so loved the people in the creation that He gave His only begotten Son."

Now, probably, you know what the most quoted verse is in the Bible? Anyone? It's not John 3:16. The most quoted verse in the Bible is often quoted by people that don't know any other part of the Bible. But they say, "Judge not lest you be judged." But when they--and they can't tell you what the verse is, usually. But I've heard and I believe that that's probably one of the most quoted verses in the Bible. Another one is: "Do not worry," or "Worry not." But the verse you'll see popping up everywhere on the street, in football games, is John 3:16, why? Because it encapsulates the gospel so beautifully.

Just let me give you an example here. This was Martin Luther's favorite verse: "For God," the greatest giver, "so loved," the greatest motive, "the world," the greatest number, "that He gave," the greatest act, "His only Son," the greatest gift, "that whosoever," the greatest invitation, "believes in Him," the greatest opportunity, "should not perish," the greatest deliverance, "but have eternal life," the greatest joy."

Isn't that beautiful? When you really think about it, it's telling us about what the problem is: we're perishing. It tells us what the answer is, that God gave His Son, and if we believe in Him we might not perish. And so just the whole gospel is encapsulated in this beautiful, beautiful verse. And it reminds us that God--now we always think about God 3:16 in relation to ourselves, but--in John 3:16 in relation to ourselves, but God wants us to also consider John 3:16 in relation to others. That God so loves the world, meaning it's others, not just us, that He sent His only begotten Son. Now, it tells us that He gave. He wants us to give of ourselves and that's sometimes the hardest thing to do. Most people are lost because of selfishness and if we could learn to not live and be all wrapped up in ourselves, they say the smallest package in the world is someone wrapped up in themselves, but to be able to give.

Heard about this hiker. He was walking across the desert in Nevada and he got lost and got--ran out of water. And he was really--his life was at risk that he was going to die of thirst. Now, I've been out in those deserts and I was with some friends. We ran out of water and it was serious business. It's, you know, 90 degrees and very hot. But he managed to stumble along an old homestead. It was an abandoned homestead. There had been a ranch there. All the boards had fallen off the walls and stuff and no cattle in the corral but it had been abandoned many years earlier. And--but they had a hand pump, one of the old hand crank pumps that went down to a well, and next to the hand pump was a clear gallon jug, a glass jug, full of water. Oh, praise the Lord, I'm saved.

Now there was a sign--a note was written and pasted on the jug and it said, "Do not drink this water. Pour the water down in the well while you're pumping. It'll lubricate the pump and prime the pump and you'll have all the cold clean water you can want. Do not drink this water." Now the man had to make a terrible decision. Does he believe the note or does he pour it out, believing--he's going to pour it out believing that if he pumps it it's going to lubricate that leather washer and start bringing cold water up from where he can't reach it, or does he say, "Forget the note. I'm drinking it"? And of course, the next person that comes by, they're in trouble because there's no way to prime the pump. So he thought, "All right, well, I'm going to try this." As thirsty as he was, as much as he wanted to drink that water, it was a little warm but it was clean water, he took the water and he poured it down the well as he was pumping and pretty soon he felt some pressure. And then gradually some brown water sputtered out of the pump and then clear water began to come out of the pump. He kept pumping. He drank all he could drink, filled his canteen, and then he filled back up the jug, put the cork back in and left it there by the well.

That's the key to the Christian life. Some people say, "I want everything right now. I don't trust that God has eternal life for me later. So I'm just going to take what I can get now," and in doing that, that's all you get and you lose everything else. But if you believe that Jesus is offering everlasting life and you're willing to give this life, it primes the pump so you get everlasting life, all you can take, and your cup runs over. Good story, huh? I've seen those wells before out there in--riding around in the desert.

"For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son." You know, that word "so." Have you ever wondered why they--why didn't it just say, "God loved the world and He gave His Son"? But it says, "He so." Define "so" for me. He didn't just love the world. He so loved the world. It makes it bigger, right? Pastor Fagel, some of you remember the original television program, "Faith for Today," that was on and he was reading the paper, the way I heard the story. He was reading the paper one day when he was a pastor before he started the TV program. And in the obituary of the paper, he saw a very tragic story about a boy who had gotten a new red wagon for his birthday and he took it down the driveway, didn't know how to turn it quite yet, and it went out into the street. He was hit by a truck and he was killed. And the pastor read that. He said, "Oh, that is so heartbreaking." His wife saw him weeping. He's sitting there reading the paper and he said tears were in his eyes. She said, "What's the matter?" He pointed to the story.

Now, shortly after he had done that, the phone rang and it was someone who--in the family, and they said, "We're looking for a pastor who can do this funeral for us." He said, "I'll be happy to help." And so at the funeral, he commented that, you know, sometimes after the service and the little white casket, this four-year-old boy is in there and the casket's open and after the service and the family, all the visitors go by and they greet the family. And the family, typically before you take the body out to the hearse, they go by the casket and say their farewells before they close it. And the pastor's job is to stand at the head of the casket, which can be a difficult vantage point for these events. And he said he'll never forget how the mother when she finally got to the little boy, that she just kind of went to pieces and said over and over again, "We loved you so, we loved you so." And he said he could never preach on John 3:16 again without thinking about how big that little word is. "God so loved." He demonstrates what "so" means in that He gives His Son to show how much He loves the world.

So how much should you and I love the least of these? So I can see why God so loves the world because I'm in it. But does He still feel the same way if I wasn't here? You know I'm being sarcastic, I hope. But I'm not totally being sarcastic because I think all of us figure, "Well, of course, He so loves the world, I'm part of it." But even if you weren't part of it, would He love it any less? Which means He loves everybody, right? It's not just me. He so loves everyone. And that should affect how mobilized we are in sharing the gospel with other people. Because He so loves the world that He does the greatest thing: He gives. And let's face it, if we're all honest, we would say as we drive around and look at the children of men that some seem more valuable than others. We've all seen people that they don't look very good and they're sick and they don't look like they're very talented and they don't have much going for them, and when gifts were passed out, it's like they were at the end of the line and you think, "I certainly am worth more than they are." But it's not true in God's eyes.

God often surprises us by saving His best for the least. People had written off Mary Magdalene and yet Jesus reveals to her He's resurrected. And who was it that finds out of all the abundant treasure? It's four lepers at the gate that couldn't even get in the city. God reveals to the four lepers, "There's this great treasure out there because the Assyrians had run." And just all through the Bible you find God seems to use little unnoticed instruments. It's the little maid in Naaman's house, right? It's the little boy with the five loaves. God likes to glorify the least and so we shouldn't rush past that truth.

Heard about a nurse that was working in Africa in a leper hospital and a friend came to visit her from another country and she came and saw her at work one day, dressing the wounds of the lepers, and when she got her alone she said, "I don't know how you can do that." She said, "You couldn't get me to do that for a million dollars." And her friend who was the nurse said, "You couldn't get me to do it for a million dollars either. But for Jesus, I'll do it for free." So when you think about it, we're not doing it for earthly reward. We're doing it for the one who loved us so much.

And then it says: "So--whosoever believes in Him." Now this is an often misunderstood part of John 3:16. How many believe in the Lord? But in the Bible it says the devils will even tremble. Which way do you believe? Is your belief a belief that, yes, He exists and He came into the world, He died for sinners? Does the devil believe that? He does. Is that going to save him? No. So what kind of belief do we need? It's a different kind of belief. Might I submit the word "believe" here doesn't mean just acknowledge that God exists. It means "be-live in Him." "Whosoever be-lives in Him."

I'll give you an example of what biblical belief is. You have to understand this because there's a lot of cheap grace out there, and they take the word "believe" and they totally abuse it. If I were to say to you, "I've just received supernatural message from the Lord that in 60 seconds this building is going to implode in a terrible earthquake," and I say, "How many believe me?" And you say, "We believe you, brother Doug." But you sit there. You don't believe me. If you believe me, you run out of the building, right? So when we say, "I believe Jesus," that means I believe what He commands and I am going to do what He says." Now we may not always do it perfectly or on time but our goal in life is we believe His words and we want to live His words. Says, "Whoever believes in Me," doesn't mean that he believes He exists. The devil knows that. It means whoever believes His teachings. How do you show you believe His teachings? You follow them, right? And so whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. The Bible says: "All that call in the name of the Lord will be saved." That's true.

What does it mean to call on the name of the Lord? Does it mean just to say one prayer? Well, it starts with one prayer and you can be saved after one prayer. But those who are Christians, it's all those who have a life of calling on God. Do you have a life of regular prayer? All those that call on the Lord, it's an ongoing verb. So a lot has been done to damage and cheapen what it means to believe and to call on the name of the Lord. So, you know, I could go on and on through--but the wonderful thing is it says: "They will not perish." You know, I like this John 3:16. When you're teaching the state of the dead, you can't get better than John 3:16. People think you die and you burn forever and ever in hell. That's not according to John 3:16. The word "perish" means to cease to exist. But, contrasting with it, they have everlasting life. It doesn't say you get everlasting life in the fire or everlasting life in heaven. It's either perish or everlasting life. And so John 3:16 is just one of my favorite verses.

All right, let's go to the next section here that talks about compassion and repentance. And in a moment I think I've got someone going to read a verse for me, okay? I'm going to start with John 9:36: "But when He," Jesus, "saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd." What does it mean when a person is moved with compassion? Well, He didn't just think compassionate thoughts in His head. His disciples saw Him visibly demonstrate how it broke His heart that all the people were weary and scattered and wandering like sheep having no shepherd. That's why He often fed them or at least a couple of occasions because He had compassion on them. He says, "These people are hungry. They're going to faint on the way going back home. They've had nothing to eat. They've been sitting all day."

Jesus cared how people felt. He was--you know what the word "compassion" comes from? It's where you get the word "sympathy." "Com" means with, passion or pathos, with feeling. And it means you're feeling what another person feels. That's where you get pathos, sympathy. And Jesus knows how we feel. I think I touched on this last week. He really does. He knows when you're hungry, He sees every tear you cry, He knows when you're joyful, and He shares. You know, the Bible commands us, "Weep with those that weep." Would God ask us to do something He didn't do? The Bible says, "Rejoice with those that rejoice. Weep with those that weep." And that's because this is how God lives. He feels what we feel. He rejoices with us, assuming you're rejoicing over something you can rejoice over. And He weeps when we weep.

And so Jesus was moved. He felt the suffering of humanity. Luke 19:41: "Now as He drew near the city of Jerusalem, He wept over it, saying, 'If you had known, even you, especially in this your day,'" Oh, the day they'd waited for. The Messiah had come. "'The things that make for your peace! But now they're hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when enemies will build an embankment around you, and surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they'll not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.'" They'd missed their golden opportunity of recognizing the Messiah when He came, making peace with Him and exalting Him. And He wept over the city, like David wept over Jerusalem, Jesus wept, because He felt compassion.

All right, go ahead please. Read your verse for us.

Female: John 11:34 through 36: "And He said, 'Where have you laid him?' They said to Him, 'Lord, come and see.' Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, 'See how He loved him!'"

Doug: Yeah, that was Jesus weeping for Lazarus. Not necessarily because He was getting ready to raise Lazarus but He saw the people weeping and in that funeral I think that every time you've gone to a funeral and you see people weeping, you know, Jesus wept with them. Christ was looking at that grave there of Lazarus and He was thinking of all the people through the ages that will not just die and the grief that's caused by that but He's thinking about the second death. People that will die a death where they don't get the resurrection, the resurrection of life anyway. So He was weeping with them. He felt compassion. Was this the only time Jesus cried? No, I think there's many times in the life of Christ when He was moved with compassion and He wept. This is one time that it's recorded. By the way, this is not the shortest verse in the Bible. It is the shortest verse in the King James Version. There is a shorter verse in Greek and it's the word "Rejoice forevermore." It's that verse where it says, "Rejoice forevermore." It's actually shorter than the one that says: "Jesus wept."

But--so Christ felt what others feel. If you look in Ezekiel chapter 33. These verses always move me. Ezekiel 33:11, Christ is telling the prophet, "Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but the wicked will turn from his way and live.'" I mean, God has made an incredible investment in this world to keep us from perishing because He cares. He has compassion and he wants us to turn. He wants us to live. He says, "Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why will you die, O house of Israel?" You know, whenever you see that word, "Oh," it's like the word "So." You can almost hear the pleading of God in there. Turn, turn, why will you die? God is pleading, "Why are you going to destroy your life by clinging to sin?" God is pleading. His heart wants us to be saved. Deuteronomy 5:29, a similar verse. It begins with the word "Oh." There you get that "Oh" again. Deuteronomy 5:29: "Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me always and keep all of My commandments, that it might be well with them and their children." God's saying, "Oh." You ever felt that way about your kids? Oh, when will they learn? And God is wanting us to be saved. You can hear it. You can hear the ache in God's heart in so many of these verses.

And then, of course, it's talking about compassion and repentance. Now, I don't want to park here too long but I do want to slow down and just emphasize a point. You hear it here in this church but I like to channel surf and listen to other Christian preachers and pastors and ministries and just see what's going on out there in the Christian world. And I'm stunned so often how little--there's a famine of preaching on the priorities of repentance. Repentance is, like, the first sermon that Jesus preached. It says He began preaching, saying, "Repent." First thing John the Baptist said in preparing the way for Christ, he said, "Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand." First thing the apostles said after the Holy Spirit was poured out is what? "Repent and be baptized, every one of you and you shall receive the Holy Spirit."

Part of the salvation process is a sorrow for sin and a willingness, a confession of sin and a willingness to turn away from sin. And I listen to a lot of pastors and it's starting to kind of encroach even in our own church ministries and denomination where people kind of dumb down the gospel. It's like they dilute the medicine so that it has no effect anymore. And they say, you know, if you want to accept Jesus, you just bow your head and close your eyes, repeat after me, and they say some prayer that, you know, I don't want to diminish that God can save people with anyone praying, making those first steps but you can't skip the step of repentance. It's one of the steps in salvation, it's what you see when Isaiah saw the Lord and he finally said, "Woe is me. I am undone." And David fell on his face before the Lord.

And repentance is a sorrow for sin but it's not just sorry like Judas went out and hung himself after he repented. That's now what God wants. Pharaoh repented until the next plague went away. That's not the repentance. Repentance is where Peter went out and he wept bitterly and he was a changed man. It's, you know, seeds can lay dormant for years until they get the water and a lot of seeds of life have been sprouted in the tears of our repentance. And it's through broken clouds that you get the shower, it's through a broken alabaster box you get the ointment, and it's through broken hearts that you get the new birth. And so part of living life means that there's a repentance and a sorrow for sin that will lead then to a turning away from it. I'd feel a lot better if someone would say, "Amen" at this point because I think that's a true point that I just--I want to make sure people listening out there know I'm not alone in that teaching.

In--oh, wait, did I leave a verse out here I was going to share? Yeah, and so 1 John 1:8 through 10, if we do sin after you've repented, don't become discouraged. It says: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we've not sinned, we make Him a liar and His Word is not in us." So, you know, be encouraged. John said, "Everyone struggles with sin. As long as you're in this life," I'll be talking more later about the spiritual warfare that's going on. All right, next section is grace and good works, and I want to spend a little time on this as well. Going back to our memory verse in Ephesians chapter 2: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, that not of yourselves; it's the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are--"

Now I want to stop right there. "It's the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Can anybody--does anyone really have a right to boast that they're saved? Because if it wasn't for the outside work of God, you would continue on your road to destruction. God somehow arrested your attention with the Holy Spirit that brought conviction or some crisis in your life that God basically, He went after you. If you're saved, it's not because you are brilliant and you had an epiphany one day on your own. And God intervened in your life and He acted to save you. You--and then the grace to turn from your sins and live a new life, all that power comes from Him. We are not saved because we've done these good works and the Lord said, "You know, normally, I have to just forgive people but you've been so good, you've worked so hard."

Have you ever met anybody--my father used to think this. He thought that in the judgment day that God had a scale and He'd put your bad works--He figured everyone was allowed so many bad works and then you get some good works and as long as you had more good works than bad works, you were going to make it. In my dad's mind, he thought, "As long as I'm donating more money and helping a lot of people more than my own personal sins, then I'm going to make it." As a dad, it doesn't work that way. You don't have enough money to pay for your forgiveness and you could never do enough good works to earn it. This is what Paul is saying.

God doesn't grade on the curve. And it's not how many good works you do against your bad works. Had nothing to do with your works. The thief on the cross, the one that turned to Jesus, will he be saved? Is he saved based on the good works he did after he came to Christ? Well, he did one good work, you know? Jesus said, "This is the work you should do: believe on the One the Father has sent. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ," right? So he believed. That was the work he did but he didn't go out and saying, "I'm going to go raise up an orphanage, and I'm going to go give money to the poor and I'm going to go feed people and visit the hospital." He didn't do good works after that. He saved solely on his faith. Now, if he had come off the cross, of course I can't prove that, but I'm--can guarantee you if by some miracle he didn't died on the cross after coming to Christ, and they'd taken a crowbar and pulled the nails out and bound up his wounds and he went on to live his life, would he have then had different works? We hope so. If he was really converted, would he have had different works?

So why is it then if we're saved by grace, we're judged by our works? Let me read some verses here. First of all, before I get to that point, let's get to the second part of that verse. It says: "Lest anyone should boast." I'm still on Ephesians 2, verse 8 through 10. "For we are his workmanship," it's Him working in us, "created in Christ Jesus for good works." Why'd He create us? "For good works." He wants us to have good works, "which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." That means we should be walking in good works and this includes good works for our fellow men, the least of these. Someone's going to read 2 Timothy 2 in just a moment. I'm going to read 1 Timothy first. That's because 1 Timothy comes before 2 Timothy. 1 Timothy 5, verse 10: "Well reported for good works: if she has brought up children," now what Paul is saying here--keep in mind, Paul wrote Ephesians. Paul is saying here that when you look at the criteria for having a widow within the church, that gets assistance from the church, there's certain criteria you've got to meet. And here's the criteria: that she's "well reported for good works." You mean they're going to judge a person for good works? Yeah. "If she's brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she's washed the saints' feet, if she's relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work."

It's amazing to me that people say it's not of works and they try to make it sound like good works have nothing to do with living the Christian life. Notice I didn't say salvation. Are good works part of the Christian life? Should we teach good works? Did Paul teach good works? He did, and so--but now, if you mention about works, it's almost like that's a dirty word in modern Christianity. They go, "Oh, you're works oriented." Well, Paul was pretty works oriented too. We're not saved by them but if you are saved, you will have good works. Isn't that right? All right, go ahead please. Read your verse for us.

Male: 2 Timothy 2:21: "Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work."

Doug: So if we've received the Lord, if we've been saved by grace, we are sanctified by the Master, prepared for what? Every good work. Jesus said we're saved by grace but He says: "You will know them by what? By their fruits. And what are the fruits of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, faith, mercy. And that will be demonstrated in a lifestyle of living out the Christian virtues and loving others. So when we're talking about walking the walk and living the Christian life, I think I have shared this story many times. I know we have different people here so I'll repeat it and if you've heard it before, you can take a brief nap. I'll wake you up when it's over.

But I was driving--I pick up hitchhikers periodically. I don't go looking for them but I'm impressed sometimes and I spent a lot of time hitchhiking so I feel empathy, compassion. And I remember, I was up by Clearlake and I was going down this long hill just before you get to the flat part of where Clearlake is and there was a guy who was standing on the road and he was hitchhiking, going my direction. And I went by him. I had cars behind me. It wasn't a good place to pull over. I went by and I felt impressed to pull him over but I didn't right away. And then I felt convicted I should give him a ride. I really felt this strong, like, you need to give that guy a ride. And I had already gone, like, half a mile down the road. Finally said, "All right, this is not going to let me have any peace." So I turned around, I came back, and now, of course, I'm going the other direction because I'm just coming back to pick him up.

But now he's gone across the road to the other side of the road and he's hitchhiking the opposite direction. I'm saying, "Lord, this guy's confused. He doesn't know where he's going." So I pull over and I say, "Look, I stopped to pick you up but you were going the other way and I'm not really going this way." He said, "I know." He said, "I don't care." He said, "There was no traffic going that way so I went over this way because I'm freezing." I said, "Oh, it is really cold out, yeah." I said, "Well, climb on in. I'm going back the other way towards Ukiah." He said, "Oh."

He got in and we're driving along for a minute and I don't know how it came up but usually I bring it up somehow. He said, "Where are you coming from?" And I said, "Well, I'm a pastor and I'm going--" "Oh, you're a pastor. I'm a Christian too." He said, "I'm just not a practicing Christian." I said, "Oh, I didn't know there was that category." Is there that category? No, I know a lot of people out there that say, "Once you're saved, you can't be lost and so I got saved when I was 15 years old and I'm a Christian but, you know, now I'm kind of over fools hill. I'm not practicing but I'm still a Christian, I'm still saved." I said, "Tell me about that." And he said, "Well, yeah, I've had all these problems. I just got out of jail and, you know, had these problems. My girlfriend and I had a big fight," and he's telling me all the trouble he's having and I said, "So your trouble is with sin, right?" "Yeah." I said, "Did Jesus save you from your sins?" "Well, yeah, He forgave me." I said, "Wait a second. Did He save you from your sins or did He save you in your sins?" I said, "A Christian is not saved in their sins. He's saved from their sins." I said, "Sin is controlling your life, not Christ. Sin should not have dominion over you." Said, "But I got a cross." He says, "See my cross?" He started telling me about this cross. I said, "Did Jesus ask us to wear the cross or bear the cross?"

He got real quiet, and he said, "I guess I'm not a Christian, am I?" I said, "But we can fix that." And so by the time I dropped him off, we had prayer together. I talked about what it means to really be a Christian. God wants to save you from your sins and the drugs and the different things in his life that were causing all his problems. I said, "God wants to save you. He saved me." I think I even had a testimony book I gave him.

But you'd be surprised. There's a lot of people out there that think, "Oh, I am a Christian. I'm just not a practicing Christian." There is no such category. Didn't Jesus say, "You are either with Me," or what's the other option? "You're against Me." There's no middle ground in this. Titus 2:7: "In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works." The same author who wrote Ephesians. We are to, "in all things, have a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptible." Revelation 22:12, last chapter in the Bible, what does Jesus say? "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his faith." Did you catch that? I misquoted that. Preachers are going to fool you if you're not careful. "Behold, I'm coming quickly, My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to my grace." Doesn't say that. Says: "To give to every one according to his work." "But Pastor Doug, we are saved by grace." We are and your works will demonstrate whether you have been saved by grace, right? Jesus said, "You'll know them by their fruits."

All right, there's an interesting verse in the book, "Ministry of Healing," page 103. "Those who receive are to impart to others. From every direction are coming calls for help. God calls upon men to minister gladly to their fellow men." And so doing the good works, showing love to their fellow men is just a very important part of the gospel. Someone put it this way: "I used to be a sinner running after sin, but now that I'm saved, I'm a sinner running from sin." 'Course, but there's to be a holiness there so I don't totally agree with that quote. "Grace does not save us against our will. He makes us willing by his grace. He does not tear up the door of our hearts with a forcible entry but rather the key of grace that softens our heart."

All right, then we've got the section on our common humanity and I like this passage here. Malachi 2:10. Someone's going to read for me 1 Corinthians 12:13 in just a minute. That'll be you. I'm going to read the Malachi 2:10 first. "Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?" Even in the Old Testament they recognized all people are sons of Adam. Acts 17:26: "He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell upon the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times." "Made of one blood." We did not evolve from different subcategories of orangutan in different parts of the world. You know, they've done DNA testing now and even atheists agree that all the humans in the world came from two original humans. Have you heard that? Yeah, so hmm, I know what their names were. The DNA won't show that but the Bible does. Yeah, we're all really--go ahead, read for us your verse.

Female: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all made to drink into one Spirit."

Doug: Very good, thank you. And by the way, that's 1 Corinthians 12:13. So it doesn't matter if you're a Jew, you're Greek. Do you mean--Greek means Gentile, any non-Jew. We are all related. Yeah, I'm thankful my mother--when I was growing up I went to so many different schools and including public school in New York City which I don't know if any of you hung out in New York City but you cross the street and you're in Italy. Then you cross the street again, you're in Germany. Then you cross the street again, you're in Chinatown. And it just--it's like every block has its own international ethnicity. And I went to a public school. It was international exposure. And so my friends were from all over the world and I'm thankful that I had that experience because it just--it helps you realize the equal value of all of God's children.

But even in the church, sometimes people have--they discriminate. There's some prejudice. They think others are worth more. The Jews had it. Didn't the Lord have to convince Peter it was okay to preach to the Gentiles? He got that vision. Said, "Lord, I can't be defiled by going to a Gentile's house." God said, "Do not call unclean what I've cleansed." And even Jesus was nearly killed at the beginning of His ministry because He said that God has people outside of Jews that He wants to save. And Luke 4:25, Christ is preaching: "I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent," he wasn't sent to any Jewish widow. "He was sent to Zarephath, to the region of Sidon," up by Tyre, "to a woman who was a widow," a pagan, Canaanite. "And there were many lepers in Israel in the days of Elisha the prophet, but none of those lepers were healed but the Syrian was healed." And they got so upset. "You mean, God is going to hear the prayers of these pagans from a different race?" And Jesus said, "Yeah, that's exactly what I'm saying."

That's why you've got stories in the Bible about Rahab being adopted into the family Israel, Ruth, Naaman, the Phoenician woman that Elijah lived with, and many others. Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned." Since all have sinned, Jesus is offering the remedy to how many? To all. Isaiah 53: "All we like sheep have gone astray. We've turned everyone to his own way and the Lord laid upon him the iniquity of all." So Jesus paid for the sin of just the church members? Of every human. Did Jesus pay for the sins of even those who do not accept Him? He did. Which makes it really tragic that their sins will be paid for twice. If they don't accept Christ, He suffered for their sin, they're going to suffer too. So His payment was a waste. That's why He talks about those who have done despite to the spirit of grace.

And then finally we've got the everlasting gospel here. Revelation 14:6: "I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth." How far does it go? "Every nation, tribe, tongue, and people." See, right there in the Bible it says the gospel is to go beyond just the church members or one group or one race. It was to go everywhere. Every tribe, every nation, every tongue, every people. Jesus said, "Go into all the world, preach the gospel." Said, "Beginning in Judea and Jerusalem and Samaria, then the uttermost parts of the earth." That encompasses everything.

And I tell you, it's been fun. I just praise the Lord that, you know, Karen and I and when the kids were young, we took the kids. We have been able to travel all over the world and it is so neat because we meet Seventh-day Adventist Christians in New Guinea, in China, in Africa, in Europe, and they got some really interesting customs and food. I like just about all the food. But they all believe the same Bible. They all have the same faith. They know the same God. It is the most amazing thing. I can stand up and preach from the Bible and, even though it's going through a translator, I don't have to worry about, "Well, I wonder how this sermon is going over in this culture." If I'm preaching the Word of God I'm getting "Amens." Sometimes I think my translator's fixing what I'm saying before it goes to them. But it's for all people. Everlasting gospel. 2 Samuel 23, verse 5. David's praying: "Although my house is not so with God, yet he has made with me an everlasting covenant." That's why it's called the everlasting gospel, ordered in all things. Psalm 145:13: "Your kingdom, O Lord, is an everlasting kingdom and your dominion endures throughout all generations."

Were people saved under one dispensation in the Old Testament and now they're saved with a different gospel and a different dispensation in the New Testament? They were saved by works then and we're saved by faith now. The everlasting gospel, the same gospel that saves us is the same gospel that saved Adam and Abel, back in the Garden of Eden. They were all saved by the blood of the Lamb. They were saved by faith looking forward to the cross. We are saved by grace and faith, looking back to the cross. It is an everlasting gospel for all people in all parts of the world. Can you say, "Amen" please? Thank you. Psalm 139, verse 23: "Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my ways, my anxieties. See if there's any way in me and lead me in the way everlasting." The way everlasting is the everlasting gospel because the result of the everlasting gospel is everlasting life. Isn't that good news?

We are out of time for today's lesson but we got most of it. I want to remind our friends before we sign off, there is a free offer we mentioned at the beginning of the broadcast. And it's called "How Perfect Must a Christian Be?" I think you'll find this encouraging. And you can ask for offer number 863. Just call... That's 866-Study-More. Should see it on your screen there. You can even get this by texting. You can go and listen to it online. You text "SH117" and you text that to 40544. Easy for you to say. All right, friends. Thank you so much for joining us and we'll look forward to studying again next week.

Announcer: Don't forget to request today's life-changing free resource. Not only can you receive this free gift in the mail, you can download a digital copy straight to your computer or mobile device. To get your digital copy of today's free gift, simply text the key word on your screen to 40544 or visit the web address shown on your screen, and be sure to select the digital download option on the request page. It's now easier than ever for you to study God's Word with "Amazing Facts," wherever and whenever you want and most important, to share it with others.

Announcer: "Amazing Facts Changed Lives."

Diamond Garcia: Hi, my name is Diamond Garcia and I am from the beautiful islands of Hawaii. I was raised in a very dysfunctional family, like most families. Being in that environment, I would lie, cheat, steal, rob houses, cheat in school in tests and lying to teachers and getting into fights and all kinds of stuff. One day I was asked to take this little box of something and I had to walk down the road and give it to someone and they would give me money and I would walk back home. And I later realized I was dealing drugs. Growing up in that environment, I thought that, you know, being an adult was a life of drinking and smoking and partying and that's just what adults did. When I looked at my family and saw the road that they were going down, getting arrested, getting beaten up, coming home drunk and puking all over the floor, I just didn't want that for myself.

Growing up, I had a grandma who was baptized as a Christian in her 20s but then she wasn't a real practicing Christian. And so one day I was at her house and there was a box of various books so I went to the bottom of that box and found a book called "The Great Controversy." And I picked it up and I said, "This is interesting." And I opened to the first page of that book and it said: "If thou hast known," I had no clue what it meant. And so I said, "You know what? Forget this." I put the book down. I just walked away, did my thing. But then something told me, "You know, Diamond, go back to that book." And so I went back to the book, picked it up. Went to the last two chapters and I read it. And I said to my grandmother, I said, "What church is this from? I want to go to that church." So she brought me down to the local church and then I walk in through the back door and the piano's off-key, people were off-key. It's, like, "Man, this is really kind of-- I don't want to be here." And I got to the front of the church and I sat down. I was listening to the sermon and the whole service was so boring to me. But then someone gives me the set of DVDs and it was called "The Prophecy Code."

It was through watching Doug Batchelor explain the truths found in the Bible that really brought me to Christ, and brought me to realize that, you know what? There is a life better than my family's life. My second week at church on Sabbath, there was one person there. He basically told me, "Hey, Diamond, do you want to make some money?" And I said, "Sure." I said, "What do you do?" He says, "Well, I'm a colporteur. We go door to door and we sell Christian books." I said, "Oh, okay. Well, that sounds interesting. I do want to make some money too." And so he said, "Okay, well, why don't you come with me?" We drove out to the neighborhood, parked the car, and that night was just raining. It was pouring and pouring. It could not stop raining. He prayed; he said, "God, this is Diamond's first night. If it's your will, stop the rain so we can go knocking on doors." And as soon as he said, "Amen," the rain just stopped.

I was just thinking in my head, "Is this guy a prophet or what?" I mean, he just prayed and asked God and it happened. And so I was so happy, I grabbed the books and I went to the first door, and the first door I went to, the person gave me 50 bucks. That night was actually a big night for me because it was where I saw God's power work in stopping the rain and people actually giving me lots of money. I then became a colporteur or a canvasser and I saved money to pay for my way through the academy and when my church began to see how God was using me and they immediately recognized that it was God's Spirit moving and they put me, you know, preaching and teaching and sharing my faith. And I've been engaged in ministry for the past six or seven years now and God has taken me all over the world on multiple continents, sharing my testimony, how God has brought me out of darkness into his marvelous light, which is total contrast as to how I was before, I am now, you know, it's a total contrast. My name is Diamond and "Amazing Facts" has helped to change my life.

Doug: We're here on the beautiful coast of the island of Puerto Rico. And if you were to travel east about 2,000 miles, of course, you'd be out in the middle of the ocean, but you'd also be in the middle of a mystical sea called the Sargasso Sea. It gets its name because of this common brown seaweed that can be found floating in vast mass. The area of the Sargasso Sea is about 700 miles wide and 2,000 miles long. Now, the seaweed itself is fascinating stuff. It was first observed and called gulf weed by Christopher Columbus. It gets the name sorghum from the Portuguese. Some people use it as herbal remedies.

But out in the middle of the Sargasso Sea the water is some of the bluest in the world. It's there you can see 200 feet deep in places. It also has a great biodiversity and ecosystem that surrounds the Sargasso Sea. For years, scientists wondered where the American and the Atlantic eels were breeding. They knew the adult eel swam down the rivers out into the Atlantic but they never could find the place where they reproduced. Finally, they discovered it was out in the middle of the Sargasso Sea. So it's a fascinating place but if you were an ancient sailor you did not want to get stuck there.

Being caught in the doldrums was extremely difficult for the ancient sailors. Of course, their boats were driven by wind and sail and they'd be caught in the vast mass of the seaweed that would wrap around their rudder, barnacles would begin to grow. It's an area that is notorious for light and baffling winds and so they'd make no progress. They'd get stuck. The men would become extremely dispirited. Sometimes, violence and even insanity would break out as people were trapped in the doldrums.

Well, friends, perhaps sometimes you've felt that you're trapped in the doldrums. You've gone through episodes of depression, you feel like you're going in circles, life seems stifling. You know, the Bible offers good news. There is a way out. The Bible talks about a famous character that was trapped in a cycle of depression. He was low as you could be. Matter of fact, he even had seaweed wrapped around his head. His name was Jonah. But God gave him a way of escape. In Jonah chapter 2, verse 3 through 7, we read: "For You cast me into the depths, Into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; all of Your billows and Your waves passed over me. Then I said, 'I have been cast out of Your sight; yet I will look again towards Your holy temple.' The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; the deep closed around me; weeds were wrapped around my head. I went down to the moorings of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed behind me forever; yet You've brought my life up from the pit, O Lord, my God. When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple."

You know, friends, the way that Jonah got out of his discouraging circumstances, he turned to God and he prayed. And if God could hear Jonah's prayer, just think about it, he was as far away from God as anybody could be, he was in the belly of a sea monster in the bottom of the ocean in the dark, yet he turned to God and God heard his prayer. You know, these ancient sailors, when they were trapped on the deck of a ship for weeks, stuck in the doldrums, discouraged, sometimes they would have a prayer meeting and pray that God would send a breeze that would set them free and get their boats moving. They turned to God in prayer and often miracles would happen and the wind would flutter in the sails and bring them out of their seaweed prison.

Friends, maybe you have been stuck in the doldrums. Maybe you've been caught in a cycle of depression. If God can do it for Jonah, if He can do it for the ancient sailors, He can do it for you. Turn to the Lord in prayer. Trust His Spirit to blow through your soul and to set you free.

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