A Community of Servants

A Community of Servants

Scripture: Hebrews 10:23-24, 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, Exodus 32:1-14
Date: 09/28/2019  Lesson: 13
'Both evangelism and the desire for justice spring from recognizing God’s love for lost, broken, and hurt people—a love that also grows in our hearts under the influence of God in our lives. We don’t choose one action or another; instead, we work with God in working with people, meeting their real needs, and using whatever resources God has entrusted us with.'

Opening Our Homes to Christ - DVD or Digital Download

Opening Our Homes to Christ - DVD or Digital Download
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Shawn Brummund: Welcome to another edition of the "Sabbath School Study Hour." It is so good to be able to have you here as you are watching online or on various TV channels around the world. It is always good to be able to come together here at the Granite Bay Seventh Day Adventist Church here in the Greater area of Sacramento, California. It's always good to be able to have our local visitors as well as our regular members that join us from Sabbath to Sabbath as we come together to be able to study God's Word. Now, today is a big day because today is wrap-up day. Today is the last lesson that we'll be looking at in a study and quarterly that we've been studying for the last three months, and it's entitled, "The Least of These," ministering to those in need. And this is a great theme that we can find throughout the Bible. Jesus, of course, lived it in a very powerful way during His time, and the early church did as well, and so we look forward to being able to study that last wrap-up lesson today entitled, "A Community of Servants." That's lesson number 13 and so if you have your quarterlies, make sure that you open it up and that you can follow along as we look at this important subject.

Before we continue on with our singing and our praise, as we do every Sabbath morning, we want to invite you to be able to take advantage of a free offer that we have for this week. Now this week is a DVD. Normally, we have a book but sometimes we also have a DVD. And so the free offer for today is entitled "Opening Our Homes to Christ." "Opening Our Homes to Christ." And you can just phone in to 1-866-788-3966. Again, that's 1-866-788-3966 and ask for offer number 827. That's 827. Now, we live in a digital age and many of us have smartphones and are interested in a download of that digital copy. And so today, you can simply text the code "SH132" and you want to dial that or text it out to the number 40544. And if you do so, you'll find yourself receiving a free download, a digital copy, of this particular video and sermon presentation by our senior pastor, president of Amazing Facts Ministries, Doug Batchelor himself. And so please take advantage of that free offer today. And we are going to invite our singers out as they lead us in praise and worship before we get into our lesson study.

Male: Good morning. We're going to be singing song number 492 in the Seventh Day Adventist hymnal, it's "Like Jesus." "Teach me, Father, what to say. Teach me, Father, how to pray. Teach me all along the way how to be like Jesus." You can all sing with us. We're going to do all four verses.

♪♪♪

♪ Teach me, Father, what to say. ♪

♪ Teach me, Father, how to pray. ♪

♪ Teach me all along the way ♪

♪ how to be like Jesus. ♪

♪ I would be like Jesus, ♪

♪ I would be like Jesus! ♪

♪ Help me, Lord, to daily grow ♪

♪ more and more like Jesus! ♪

♪ Teach me as the days go by, ♪

♪ teach me not to reason why, ♪

♪ teach me that to do and die, ♪

♪ is to be like Jesus. ♪

♪ I would be like Jesus, ♪

♪ I would be like Jesus! ♪

♪ Help me, Lord, to daily grow more ♪

♪ and more like Jesus! ♪

♪ Teach me that the time is short. ♪

♪ Teach me how to live and work. ♪

♪ Teach me that to never shirk ♪

♪ is to be like Jesus. ♪

♪ I would be like Jesus, ♪

♪ I would be like Jesus! ♪

♪ Help me, Lord, to daily grow more ♪

♪ and more like Jesus! ♪

♪ Teach me how we may be one, ♪

♪ like the Father and the Son; ♪

♪ and when all is overcome, ♪

♪ I will be like Jesus. ♪

♪ I would be like Jesus, ♪

♪ I would be like Jesus! ♪

♪ Help me, Lord, to daily grow ♪

♪ more and more like Jesus! ♪♪

Shawn: Father in heaven, as we stop, we ask for Your Holy Spirit to bless us. We ask that You will be the teacher that You promised to be for us and, God, we want to pray that You will help us to be able to learn this important subject, Lord, in all ways in which You would have us grow and understand and grow as Christians, Lord, we want to pray that You will do so. We want to pray that You will bless our teacher today as we are thankful for his service and his willingness to be able to teach us today. In Jesus's name we pray, amen. It's my privilege to be able to invite and welcome our teacher today which is Carlos Munoz. Now, Pastor Carlos is the AFCOE leader, the Amazing Facts College of Evangelism for Amazing Facts for those of you who are not aware. God bless you, Carlos.

Carlos Munoz: All right, Maranatha. All right, who remembers what does Maranatha mean? Christ is coming, amen? All right, so I think eventually we'll get it down. So when I say "Maranatha," you say, "Christ is coming," amen? Let's practice that again. Maranatha. All right, here we go. We'll get there, we'll get there. Shabbat Shalom, everybody, welcome to another wonderful Sabbath School Study Hour. I'm excited, sad because we're seeing this lesson--this quarterly come to an end. Who's enjoyed this quarterly lesson, amen? Yes, I think it's been very, very, very, very well written, very, very--a lot of information and a good solid foundation because I think sometimes we forget about ministering to those in needs, amen? And so before we start, let's have a word of prayer.

Heavenly Father, thank You for this opportunity to come together and share Your Word again, to study and review our lesson. We just ask that Your Holy Spirit guide us so that we might not only have a theoretical understanding of it but that we may also apply this in a practical way in our daily lives. And so we ask this, Father, we ask this blessing and guidance and we ask this in the precious name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Amen, so our last lesson for this quarterly is titled, "A Community of Servants," right? And the memory text is Hebrews chapter 10, verse 23 and 24. Let's go ahead and read it. "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is," what? "Faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works." Very good. So the title of this lesson is "A Community of Servants." Now, as I mentioned last time when I did the first--this will be my--the second time I actually do Sabbath School so I'm starting to get the hang of it again, in English. Community of Servants, I always like to look at the title. I like words. I really enjoy words. I like breaking down words and understanding words and so "A Community of Servants" has two very interesting words.

The first one is "Community," right? Community has how many words? It's a compound word, right? Com-unity, right? So unity is a unit. Com, a community, right? Community means a common unity, a common mission, among people, right? That's what it's talking about. We're a community because we are a unit of people that have what? We have a commission, right? We have a mission, we have a purpose. We're not just here just waiting around, putting our seatbelts on and hitting cruise control on the car. To wait for the return of Jesus Christ. We have a mission and we are in unity on that mission. We are in unity to what our goal is as Christians. And so we are community, a common unit, a unit of what? Of servants.

Now, the word "servants," what's the root word of servants? To serve, right? To serve. Now, we know the word "serve" is very foundational for us. But when you go into the Greek and the Hebrew, the word "servant" has a deeper understanding than just to serve because we think to serve is, you know, when you go to a restaurant, right, you have a server or a waiter, they come and they're just attending you in what it is you want at that moment or the service that you're requesting. But in Hebrew the word "servant," right, is an interesting word and in Greek, and it has a deeper understanding so I want to show you some examples, what the word "servant" or "serve" is in the Bible.

So if you want to join with me, please, go with me to Exodus chapter 20, for example. Exodus chapter 20. I want to share with you some words and I think this is important as we establish the foundation for this lesson, the "Community of Servants." So go with me to Exodus chapter 20. We're going to look at an example in both the Hebrew Scriptures and in the Greek Scriptures of the word "serve" or "servant." Exodus chapter 20, we know very well. What's in Exodus chapter 20? The Ten Commandments, very good. So go with me to Exodus chapter 20 and we're going to go to verse number 2. Verse number 2. Everybody there? It says: "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage," right. That word "bondage" in the English version. In Spanish it says that you are slaves, right? So the word "servant" really means the word "slave."

Now what is a slave? We'll see the same--we're going to look at it again, in the Greek now. Then so what it really means to be in bondage, right, is to be a servant or a slave to something or to someone. In this context, God is telling them, "You were slaves in Egypt, right? And I have," what? "I have liberated you from that servant, from that bondage, that you had." Why? "Because I am a loving God, amen? And I want you to," what? "I want you to be servants to me." Go with me to Romans chapter 6. We'll see the same word again. Servants. The word "servants," we'll go to Romans chapter 6. We're looking at the words "servant" so that we can have a better understanding of exactly what is God asking us to do. Romans chapter 6 and we're going to start on verse number 15. Everybody there? Romans 6:15, amen? I hear the pages twinkling. That's a good sound. Romans chapter 6, verse 15. Look at what Paul says here. "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?"

Right? There the idea that because we have been saved by grace now we can just continue to--we can trample on the law and--which points to sin. And Paul says, "Certainly not!" He says, "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to," what? "To obey, you are the one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to," what? "To righteousness?" So understand this. We are all slaves to something or someone, right? There's no middle ground here where people say, "I don't want to serve God," or "I don't want--I don't like the things of the enemy, and I want to stay in this neutral ground." The Bible says you are either serving God or you're serving what? You're serving sin which would be under the kingdom of our enemy, right? And so you have to choose who you're going to serve. You're going to have to choose, we have to choose, who are we going to be a slave to?

Now, I know the word "slave" has a negative connotation in our vernacular, right, because of in slavery but really, the word "slave," the Greek word, what it really means is just to be tied down to, right? It's actually the Greek word is "doulos," and it means to be literally or figuratively both voluntary or involuntary subjected to something or someone, right? And it comes from--the root word is deo which means to be tied to, to be bonded to. So you're either bonded to or tied to what? Either to God or you're tied to or bonded to what? To the flesh. Are you following me? And so this is what it's talking about. Who are you serving? Remember, we're all slaves or servants to something or someone. You choose who you want to be a servant or a slave to. I hope we all choose to be servants or slaves of God, amen? And so this is what the lesson is talking about.

So as a church, we are a group--if we look at the title again, "Community of Servants," then, we are a group of people who have what? Submitted, have tied ourselves or who have enslaved our will to God, amen? And that's what it means to be a community of servants. We have enslaved ourself, we have tied our will to the service of God. And now God, if you notice, God is always in evangelism mode. Have you ever noticed that, right? I'm the director for Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism so I just actually came back from Puerto Rico. We were doing some evangelism training and, as I've continued to develop and develop, I've noticed that God is always on--He's always on evangelism mode. God is always looking and seeking for the lost, amen? And so a couple of lessons back, remember, I talked about that if we are to be the reflection or the image of God and God is always in evangelism mode, that means that us as a community of servants, we should always be what? We should always have that evangelistic mindset too.

Remember, evangelism is not an event. Evangelism is an attitude and so we should also then, as our God is throughout all the Bible in all the stories of the Bible, we should also have that same evangelistic mindset of serving, reaching out to those that have not known our God. Is everybody with me, amen? And we see that also with the divine commission, Matthew chapter 28, right? Again, divine commission. Divine meaning it's what? It's not human, right? It's supernatural. And commission, again, compound word. Co-mission. There is a mission that divinity has given us and we are to do what? Commission, cooperate with God in this mission, amen? And so He says--Jesus says very clearly in Matthew chapter 8, when you read it, the Great Commission, He says, "I have all authority," where? "In heaven and on--" He says, "I have all the power," right? He says, "I now have at my disposal all of the angels of heaven, I have all of the power of the Holy Spirit, and from heaven I'm going to be ministering to you through these powers, through the power of the Holy Spirit." And He say, "Now go and do," what? "Make disciples," amen? And to be a disciple, to teach somebody to be a disciple, you have to be a disciple, amen? And so we're seeing that and then He closes with the Commission, says, "Go make disciples by baptizing them and by teaching them the things that I have taught you."

And then He closes the Commission, saying what? "And I will be with you," what? "Every day." So He's telling us, go out, serve. Go out and get this mission out. Get this message, this gospel, out to the world. He says, "I'm with you," right? It's like a sandwich. The Commission is between--it's sandwiched between Him telling you, "I have all the power," and "I am going to be with you every day," amen? And so this is part of our identity or at least it should be part of our identity, right? If you want to go with me to page 104, there was an interesting quote there I want to share with you. Page 104, the second chapter says--this in the first and the introduction, it says: "The temptation is that when we get together as a church, we become distracted with keeping the church itself," what? "Going. Forgetting that the church exists to serve the world in which God has placed it," right?

Sometimes, I think we get too churchy, right? Or we get too religious, right? And it's all about the routines and keeping every--and we forget that the purpose that we're here for is to serve, right? First, we're serving God; second, we're serving who? We're serving each other, right? We're all ministering to each other here also because amongst us, we have brothers and sisters that are what? That are suffering, that are down, that have their issues, and we're here to what? To minister to others, right? Today it might be to somebody else, but next week it might be to you because next week I might be the one that is struggling, that's having--that's down, that's going through battles. We are to work together too, amen? And especially to serve who? The community that we have been placed in, right? We're not here out of accident, we're not here out of some randomness. We have a purpose here, right? And especially as we move into our new building, we have a purpose to the community that we're going to be serving.

We have a commission. Who says, "Amen"? The Word is exciting, right? We're doing it together. We're not by ourselves. Not only does God with us and His angels and His Holy Spirit, but together, we are working together to get to the mission of getting the gospel out to every person that lives in our community. Can I hear an "amen" for that? And so when we look at the first lesson, it talks about being agents of--agents of change. Now that was a very, very interesting--I mean, this specific day caught my attention in a lot of interesting ways because if we remember, if you look on it, it talks about being agents of change. And it gives us a number of examples of metaphors that Paul has used to show, or portray, or to exemplify how the church is to be an action to the world, amen? And he uses four very specific examples.

First one is sacrifice, right? That means, remember, all of those sacrifices of the lambs and the bulls and all of those things, that represents us, my loved ones, amen, right? Obviously, the Lamb that died on the cross was Jesus Christ but when you look at all the multiple types of sacrifices that were given, what is that? It's talking about us, right? And Paul says in Romans chapter 12 that we are what? We are sacrifices. We are to sacrifice what? Our ego, right? Sacrifice our will again. Tie it up, bond it to God, and surrender our own desires, our own self, so that what? So that the Holy Spirit can use us, amen? And so we are also sacrificing as Christ gave the greatest sacrifice, we are to sacrifice our own desires, our own will, and submit it to the will of God, amen? Why? It's not just for any reason. God's not being arbitrary. He's saying it because He wants to use us, amen? And for the Holy Spirit to be able to use me, what? I have to put my ego aside and I have to say, "Lord, here I am." Didn't Jesus put His ego aside? He said, "Father, if this cup can pass, please do it." But He says what? "Not My will, but Your will be done," amen? So we see that moment, the--one of the weakest moment of Jesus Christ and yet He still submitted His whole life, His whole thought, His will, to the Father, amen?

And it also talks about we are the body of Christ, right? And Paul uses that metaphor that we are, what? We are a community, right? Some people are the mouth, some people are the eyes, some people are the ears, some people are the toes, right? Some people are the knees. We're all supposed to be what? Everybody here in the church has a purpose, amen? And so the problem is imagine if everybody wanted to be the eyes, or if everybody wanted to be the mouth. There would be an issue, right? God has--He has distributed His gifts, His talents, among the church so that we can use it, what? So that we can fulfill the common mission that He has given us, amen? And so as I surrender my will it's not what do I think I should be doing or where should I be placed in the church, it's what? Where does God want me? What is God's purpose, right? And as we continue to submit ourselves and as the Holy Spirit continues to give us gifts, He'll give us more gifts, right?

So it's a constant growing and that's one of the things as I've been--when I was baptized 11 years ago, I've seen that I've consistently--God is consistently cycling me into something new, right? He doesn't keep me in the same spot. He's consistently moving me and moving me, right? He's taking me out of my comfort zone because when we get too comfortable, that's not a good spot, right? So He's consistently doing this and this is what we see Paul talking about. Paul also talks about ambassadors. Whoo, I love that word "ambassadors," right? What is an ambassador, right? We have--do we have ambassadors in different countries? And do other countries have their ambassadors here? Where do the ambassadors live? Where do they live? It's called in--they live in the--or they work in the Embassy, right? Where is--is God kingdom also have an Embassy here on Earth? What's God's Embassies here on Earth? The church. Not only at church, your house, your business, where you work, right?

We are ambassadors and I have a question. Does an ambassador go to another country to do what? To represent his country of origin. Are we from this Earth? No, right? Jesus says, "I'm not from this Earth," right? We're not from this Earth. We're what? We're strangers, right? We're pilgrims in this Earth. We're waiting for what? We're waiting for our eternal house, amen? For the new heavens and the new Earth, but while we're here as ambassadors, what are we to be doing? Does the ambassador do and talk and dress how he wants to do and dress and talk? No, the ambassador has to dress a specific way. The ambassador doesn't go up there and say what his opinion is. An ambassador talks about the opinion of what? Of the government that he is representing is, amen? He doesn't dress how he wants to dress. And so us, as Christian, Paul says we are also what? Ambassadors, amen? We are ambassadors. We are here to send a message from where? From our headquarters in heaven, amen? From our heavenly house where Jesus says He is preparing our homes, amen? And so if we're worrying too much about our heavenly--our earthly homes, it's not wrong to have a house but our focus should be what? On preparing for eternity, amen? And so we should be sharing that message that there is a greater hope than the things that we are seeing here. As ambassadors, we know this. And the world is not aware.

The Bible says--Revelation says that the whole world is deceived. So we are the ambassador of God to do what? To get this message out to the world, amen? To say there is something better than what we're seeing here. Death is here, guaranteed, but eternal life is also guaranteed through the blood of Jesus Christ, amen? And so that's the mission that we're taking. That's the message that we have.

I have a question. Is there a greater, more powerful message to the world? No, I'm sorry, there isn't. There's nothing you can tell--give me here on Earth that is going to give me any hope for the afterlife. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ, amen?

And then lastly, he uses the one, and this is a very interesting one. He uses the one as a perfume, amen? A perfume, right? How is a perfume--when somebody has a really good perfume and they pass by, what happens? You're, like, "Mmm." And not only that, doesn't perfumes, depending on who uses them and when they were used, doesn't there also bring memories, right? Memories. I remember my grandmother used to use a very specific perfume and so sometimes when I'm, you know, when I'm out in places, I smell that perfume and it reminds me of my--reminds me of my grandmother, right? So the perfume is we should be a fragrance, right? We should be giving a smell, not of course, a literal smell. We should bathe always and we should always be, right, nice and clean.

But I'm talking about a spiritualness, right, that when people sense, they sense a difference in us. There's something about it. You can't explain it. You don't even see it sometimes. But other people do, right? Like Moses, when he came down from the mountain. He didn't realize that he was reflecting the glory of God but everybody else did. And he was, like, "What's wrong?" And he was, like, "Oh!" He had to cover his face, right? That's how it should be. Go with me to the verse here that it uses. I want to read this one. 2 Corinthians chapter 2. Right there after Romans, 2 Corinthians chapter 2. I thought this was a very interesting verse. 2 Corinthians chapter 2 and let's read number--verse number 14. 2 Corinthians chapter 2, verse number 14. Everybody there? 2 Corinthians 2, chapter 2, verse 14, amen? It says: "Now thanks be to God who always leaves us in triumph in Christ, and through us difficulties diffuses the," what? I'm sorry, "diffuses the fragrance of," what? "Of His knowledge in every place," amen?

So when we go places we should be what? We should be reflecting, we should be giving the fragrance of the mind of Christ, amen? The way we think, the way we talk, the way we act, the way that we represent ourselves. It continues to say in verse 15: "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing." Do you smell like Christ, right? Not literally. You know what I'm talking about. Do I have the fragrance of Christ that when I go around, in the same way that you get a reaction from somebody that has a very strong perfume or a fragrance, they're like, [sniffing] "Ooh, is that--" Do we have that same reaction? Do we give off that same reaction when we're around people? Both those that are in church, the Saved, and those that are outside of church. Are we reflecting something different than what they see daily in their regular lives around other people?

And it closes in verse 16: "To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life," amen? And so in the same way I love how Paul uses these different metaphors and he's trying to explain to us how we are supposed to be standing out, the difference as we are a community of servants that is serving, that is giving this commission out to the world and showing the world. Now, agents of change. I have--it's interesting here because today, Christianity, especially Christianity and that's not--it's not specifically to the United States anymore. Now we see it--it's very, very common around the world. But Christianity today seems to be trying to be, instead of agents of change through character change, we seem to be trying to focus in on using the power of the state to change, right? Can the--can we use the state or the laws of our country to change the heart? No, right? It would just be exterior.

But we see this phenomenon and, because we study prophecy so closely, we know that one of the main issues in the end times, what it's going to be, it's going to be the image of the beast, right? And so I can't avoid tying into prophecy every time I'm studying and reading. And it's talking to us that we know that in the future our country which was founded on these principles, right, the Revelation 13 talks about it had horns like a lamb, these principles of separations of church and state, the Bible tells us that eventually we're going to what? We're going to go against those principles and we're going to bring church and state together, making an image of the beast, right?

And sadly, my loved ones, what we're seeing today and what I see is a lot of Christians, well-intentioned, sincere Christians, they're more focused on using the power of the state to try to impose our beliefs on others. Now is that what we are here to do? No, right? Now, I'm not saying that their, what? Their intent is not correct, but when I look in Scripture, I don't see Jesus Christ, right? He didn't get involved in the politics of His day. He didn't get involved in the Roman occupation, no. He's like, "No, no, no, I'm not here for that. I'm here for a greater purpose. I'm here because I'm here to save souls."

And so what we see, my loved ones, is that we're trying to use the power of the state, I'm speaking in a very general term, in Christianity in general, to try to show others what we believe. But that's not going to change the human heart, right? That's not going to change the way. How is it that people are changed and transformed? It's through what? It's through the power of the Holy Spirit, amen? And so look at this quote. I thought this was a very interesting quote on page 110. I want to share it with you. It really caught my attention. Page 110, verse--it was the third quote; 110, it's the last day, Friday. It says: "The love of Christ manifested in unselfish ministry will be more effective in reforming the evildoer than will," what? "The sword or the court of justice. Often the heart that hardens under reproof will melt under the love of Christ. So she's specifically saying in the Ministry of Healing, right? She's saying--she used an ever interesting word: "Reforming the evildoer that will--that will wield the sword."

Now, what sword? Do you know that the Bible talks about two swords? The first sword, obviously, is what? The Word of God, a double-edged sword. But do you know that there's another sword in the Bible? It's in Romans chapter 13. You can write it down and you can study it when you get back. If you start reading in Romans chapter 13, Paul's talking about the sword but he's making reference to the political sword, right? And he's saying that we are to obey the civil laws of our country, amen? As Christians, we are to obey the laws of our nation as long as those laws do not conflict with what? With God's principles, right? That's why we have the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments.

How many tablets? Two tablets. Why two tablets? Why two? Did God run out of space when He was writing the first one? "Give Me another tablet so I can finish." No, we know very specifically, first tablet has to do with what? Our first--the four commandments that have to do with our relationship with--second tablet, the other six commandment have to do with our relationship towards--have you ever noticed that the Ten Commandments, the first tablet is God's priority? Do you know that God gives the state the jurisdiction over the second tablet? Have you ever studied that, right? The second tablet does--so let's say, for example, honor your mother and your father. If you abuse of an elderly person or if you abuse of your mother and your father, are there laws against that? Yes. "Thou shall not kill." Are there laws against that? Yes. "Thou shall not steal," "Thou shall not commit adultery".

All of the laws of the second tablet are under the jurisdiction of who? Of the state, right? Except which one? The tenth commandment. What's the tenth commandment say? "Thou shall not--" That's the only one that's not legislative here on the earthly kings. You know why? 'Cause if it--if we were to legislate covenants, the capitalist system would fall apart. It's an economic joke for those of you that like economics, right? I'm just joking. But are you selling me? And so we are to follow the laws of our nation as long as those laws do not conflict with what? With the law of God. Did we see this in Daniel? Yes, Daniel was what? One of the high--where he was in the--in Nebuchadnezzar's cabinet but what happened to Daniel? The law--the king got out of his jurisdiction. He went into the first table, the first tablet, and he tried to what? To impose worship and what did Daniel say? "Uh-uh," right?

So what I'm saying here, my loved ones, and what Sister White is saying here very clearly is that to win the hearts over, we're not to use the state. We're not to use the power of the state. We're to use what? Love, amen? We're to win people over. I was recently see--I saw a documentary that was this gay parade and there was this group of Christians that show up to every gay, you know, parade or manifestation and these Christians show up and guess what they have? They have these posters, right? And they say: "Oh, God hates you. You're going to burn in hell." And I'm, like, "Is that the way we're supposed to win them over?" No, right? And they say, "Oh, we're just telling truth how it is. We're just saying it so that they know what's coming." I'm, like, "The Bible says that we're to be a light to the world," amen? That it's through our works that people are to see the light, the beauty, of it. I'm saying if we're screaming at them and yelling at them, they're not going to want anything to do with us, right? They're not going to listen to us.

And so we--what we see in this--what we see in this world, my loved ones, is that understanding that there are things that are wrong, but as agents of change, we're supposed to be changers of what? We're supposed to be changers through the power of Jesus Christ, amen? That our character transformation is to witness. That's why it says in Matthew 24:14, Jesus says that this gospel shall be preached to world, to the what? To the whole--to the world who--how? Through testimony, right? It's through our witness, it's through our testimony, that we are to win people over, amen? It's by subduing the heart. That's what she says in that quote. It's by them seeing our mercy, right? How we reflect the mercy of God, the love of God, the patience of God. That's how we are to win people over to Christ. It's not bashing them over the head with the Bible.

And actually, the Bible is not to bash people over the head, in case you didn't know. The Bible is to bash myself over my head, and to me show that and to win them over, I know, it's uncomfortable and some of the things in the practices and the things we see, but it's through love that we are to conquer, amen? It is not through hate and so, as we are agents of change, my loved ones, and the Bible says we are the remnant, right? Revelation chapter 12, verse 17, what does it say? "And the devil did," what? "He was enraged with the woman." And what did he do? "He went to make war on her," and who is the woman? "The remnant of the seed." Who is the seed? Christ. The woman is the church and there shall be a remnant, right, that last stage of the woman, the last remnant, the last part of God's people on earth, and they shall do what? They shall be keeping what? The commandments of God and have what else? The testimony of Jesus Christ.

Now, if you want to summarize what is the testimony of Jesus Christ, this is it, amen? It's the Word of God. It's the Holy Spirit speaking through His servants, through His prophets, as what? As testimony, as witness. And you and I are what? We are pages in God's Word, amen? We are a testimony, we are a fragrance. People are to see the power of God to transform our lives and they will want to participate also of this, amen?

And we see this when the lesson talks about Exodus chapter 32 with Moses, right? It says Moses--what happened with Moses? We saw the--Moses was interceding on behalf of all these people that they--God had just told them about His law, He went up to give them the commandments and, as Moses was up, he hears this rowding, right? And then he comes down and Joshua says, "There's--it looks like there's war down there." And Moses says, "No, that's not war," right? There was dancing and celebrating, right? And so what does God do? God says, "I'm going to finish with all of them." And what does Moses do? He intercedes.

I have a question, my loved ones. We, knowing the things that we know, knowing that our high priest Jesus Christ is in the heavenly sanctuary and He is ministering and very soon His work is going to come to an end, as Moses did, what should we be doing here on Earth? We should be interceding also on behalf of who? Of those that are doing what? That are worshiping the calf, amen? In the same way, I'm talking about both Christians and non-Christians, we are supposed to be the difference here to the rest of the world, to the rest of Christianity, to intercede on God's part and Moses said, "I'd prefer to die," right? He put his life on the line. Are we willing to do that? Or do we look at people that don't have our--don't share our common beliefs and our common doctrines and we're pointing fingers, "Oh, look at what they do on this thing and look at how they do and look at the way that they sing and look at the way that they have their worship service." And we're pointing fingers when we should be what? Interceding, praying, say, "Lord, help me.

How can I be an influence to them? How can I be an influence to my neighbor who loves You sincerely but the things that they're doing is not the way that you have taught us," right? The truths that we have, my loved ones, we should be interceding. First, Lord, have mercy on them. Have mercy on me. And help me to be an instrument of change in their lives and to show them, right? Not by going over their house and saying, "You know what? The way that you worship at your church, that's wrong. That's--it's not wrong, that stuff's--" No, it's about what? It's about love, amen? It's going over there, ministering to their needs, ministering to them and seeing the things that they want and that's how we are supposed to be reaching souls. And so the lesson talks about in this context of this is the purpose that we're here for, right? We're to be ambassadors, we're to be perfume, we're to be agents of change, we're to be ministering to the needs of those around us, and sometimes we get caught up.

The lesson talks about reaching the soul, right? How do we reach the souls? And the lesson talks about how sometimes we get caught up between ministering to the commune--I think the--it specifically says: "Social work or gospel work, charity or witnessing, justice or evangelism." And so my question is why do they have to be mutually exclusive, right? It's the same thing. When we are talking about ministering, when we are talking about--when we're talking about reaching out to our community with the truth as well, amen? But how did Jesus reach people with the truth? He didn't go up to them and say, "You know what? You Samaritans, you know, you're just horrible." No, He did what? He ministered to their needs. And so the way that we draw people in, the way that we catch people's attention is through ministering to their needs, right?

As AFCOE director, right, I teach the evangelism cycle. We don't just go straight into evangelism and public evangelism. We do what? There's a whole work that is supposed to be built up before we get to the public preaching of the truth, which is what? Is first is through personal preparation, right? Revival and reformation in my own life, preparing to be open so that the Spirit can use me so how I can reach X and Y person, my neighbor, my friend, because the Bible doesn't say, "Carlos, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, at the gas station there's going to be a person there called John and I want you to minister to him because he's feeling depressed." The Bible doesn't tell me that but the Holy Spirit will. And so I need to be connected to the Holy Spirit so that the Spirit can tell me and guide me who are the people that I need to minster to, amen? And so once we've got that connection to God, then it's what? It's about gaining their confidence, right? Winning them over. Through what? Through ministering to their needs. How do--how can I minister to somebody's needs if I don't know their needs? I have to have contact with people, I have to connect, and so once I know their needs, I start ministering to their needs and when their needs are met, whether it be physical, whether it be social, whether it be emotional, whatever their need, everybody has a need, you know how I know? Because we all have needs too, and I have needs too. We're all battling and struggling here. But we are to be agents of this change, amen, and to bring people this hope. And when we do that, guess what? We've gained their confidence, we win them over, and then what? And then we start sharing the Word, amen?

Sometimes what I've noticed too also is that sometimes a lot of ministries do a lot of great work, right? And I've seen churches that they have this community outreach program and it's just great. It's, you know, feeding the poor and ministering to the community and doing all of this, but they forget about what? The whole purpose is just not to minister to minister, right? It's like if we're trying to appease our conscience, you know, "Ooh, I did my Christian work today," right? Ah, I gave up a plate of food to a homeless person. Yeah, good, I'm good to go now. That's not what it's about, my loved ones. That is part of it but the part of that is to connect with them so that we can reach them with Christ, because we can serve, we can minister to somebody's needs but at the end of the day they're still going to what? They're still going to die.

But when we use that as a tool, right, the ministering and the sharing and the reaching out to the community is not the end; it's the means. The end is who? Christ. So we're using this to reach the soul, to reach out to them, right? And so these two things are not mutually exclusive, my loved ones. They're the same and one. That's why it says it's through testimony that this gospel shall be preached to the whole world, amen? It's through our witnessing and what does our witnessing represent? If we are witnessing because we have been--we are being transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit, then we should be reflecting what? The character of God. And the character of God is what? God is always on what? He's always in evangelism mode, amen? He's always seeking, looking, open, trying to reach the heart. That should be our mentality too. That should be what we should be doing then, right? Because at the end of the day, this is not our hope. We know this is going to end up.

We should be looking and what? We should be looking to reach the heart of people, ministering them so that they can what? So that they can also be part of this great community that God has, amen? Join in with us and do what? And go and reach more souls. So if we are not participating, if we are not working together, my loved ones, as this community of servants, then there is something that--there's a disconnect between us and God, right? If we don't have that passion, if we don't have that desire to want to minister to our neighbors, to our friends, to our co-workers, to our family, to the community that we live in, then that means we are disconnected somehow in some way from God and so what is the first thing we need? We need revival and reformation, right? We need to connect with God again so that what? So that we can have that.

I remember one of my favorite preachers, he's a--he speaks in Spanish. He says--he said a phrase one time that I never forget. He said, "Those that do not have the missionary, the evangelistic spirit, do not have the Spirit of God." Hoo, and that hit me hard. I was, like, "Wow." He said, "If you don't have that spirit to reach out and to--you don't have the Spirit of God." Because that was the spirit that led Christ. He reached out, He touched the leper, He saved, He healed, He ministered to everybody. I believe that when we go in--when we go back to heaven because we're all going to be there, amen? We're going to see that Jesus touched the life of every single person that lived in Palestine, in Galilee, and all that region. Every single person that lived in that area was one way directly or indirectly touched through the power of Jesus Christ. I believe that and that's our influence too, amen?

We should also--this lesson is talking about us being agents of change, us ministering, reaching out to the hearts and souls of those that around us. Not just to put a check box on the Christian and say, "Boop, there it is. I did my mission work. I gave out a pamphlet. I gave out a magazine." Those things are good too, don't get me wrong, but our purpose is to what? Is to minister to the needs of those, to win their confidence, and then be able to give them the everlasting gospel, amen? A gospel that has--that nobody else on this Earth has, that nobody else is preaching, amen? And so part of what the lesson is talking about is also encouraging each other in this work, amen? Working together, right? This is what we are. We are a community of servants. God has called us to be different, to be unique, to be special. Not to think that we're better. And so our mission field is not also reaching out but we need to do this together.

This is what we're here for. We're here as we come together on Sabbath day, right, because why? We want to worship God and say thank You, God, right? Thank You for being my creator. Thank You for being my redeemer. Thank You for sanctifying me every day. Thank You for this. That's what we come here Sabbath morning to congregate and give honor and glory to our God, amen, as His Word says. But that's not should be it, right? We're together. We should be co-missioned, right? We're on a mission together. We're a unity of people that are what? That have a mission to go and reach out to our community, to reach out.

And so I'm going to challenge you this week. I'm going to challenge you that maybe you haven't had that spirit. Maybe you've been here, "No, I'm fine here. I don't mess around with anybody." Yeah, but you don't influence anybody either. You're just in your little capsule, you're in your little bubble. It's time to get out of that bubble. It's time to start what? And the only way to do it is, Lord, I don't have that heart to minister out to the others. That's all right, there's no problem with that because Jesus says in Matthew chapter 7, verse 7, what does He say? "Ask and you shall--knock and you shall--" What--how does it say? I'm reading in Spanish. "Ask and you shall--" And then, "Knock and--" amen. So what should we be doing? Lord, give me a missionary heart. Give me an evangelistic heart, right?

You don't have to go to China, you don't have to go to Africa to minister to people's needs. There are people all around us that are desperately needing the gospel. And so our job is to take them the gospel and the gospel is not just some theory. The gospel is not just a doctrine. The gospel is Jesus Christ, and it is our opportunity to share this, to give these people hope, to give them healing. That's what we're called to do and I think that's what this lesson in general is talking about, is how we are to be this--God's unique special people on the Earth to show them that there's something different, to show them that there's something better, to reach out to them, and things will happen.

So what's my challenge for you this week? My challenge for you this week is this. And the Holy Spirit's going to remind you. You--I want you to go out to your neighbor that you haven't talked to, that maybe you don't even know, right? If you know the neighbor next to you, go them to--and I want you to go and pray for them, amen? What are you going to do? Just pray for them. Just go to your neighbor and say, "Hey, neighbor." If you know them, amen. If you don't, go, "Hey, I'm--" Because I just got two neighbors that go in so I'm going to do this too, that just moved into my apartment complex. And just go up to them and say, "Hey, my name is Carlos. I'm here from apartment. I just wanted to greet you. I just want to say I'm--I want to pray for you. That's all I want to do. I just want to say hi and to pray for you. Can you tell me what are your needs? Anything that you would like me to pray for you," and watch out because they're going to start telling. And once they open up to their needs, then the Holy Spirit is going to use you as an instrument, as an agent of change, to minister to those needs that they have, amen? Whatever it may be, and start praying, and just pray with them.

And that's how you're going to, little by little, gain confidence and watch how this Holy Spirit works because He's going to give you more and more opportunities to interact with your neighbors, with your co-workers, with your family members. You maybe have some strained relationships. That's okay, that's okay, I understand that. Work on them now, pray, and start reaching out. Minister to their needs, and then we're like, "Oh, my neighbor asked me what church do I go to. What do I do now?" Come to me, come to Pastor Shawn, come to Pastor Doug, come to Pastor Luccas, or any of the elders here and say, "My neighbor wants to know a little bit. What do I do?" Amen, we'll start doing some Bible studies, amen? But that's what we're here for.

We're here to be agents of change and so as we look at the lesson I want to just to read the last quote in the--in today's lesson. Go with me to page 110, 110. It was a very interesting quote. It was from A.G. Daniels in regards to Ellen White's funeral. He said something very interesting. It says, the last paragraph on page 110, he says: "Slavery, the cast system, unjust racial prejudice, the oppression of the poor, the neglect of the unfortunate, these all are set forth as unChristian and a serious menace to the wellbeing of the human race. And as evils which the church of Christ is appointed by her Lord," to do what? "To overthrow."

Now, ministering to those problems isn't the end, my loved ones. It's the means to a greater thing and it's to what? To minister them to Jesus Christ, amen? So we are here with this purpose: to be different, to be special, to be unique, to show the world something that they're not seeing. And if we're trying to do what everybody else is doing, then we're not being any unique in that, right? We have a special unique message and this lesson points to we're here to minister to their needs with what purpose? To take them to Christ, amen? To reach them out to Christ. And so I hope that this quarterly lesson--I know it's really reinforced in me too, that I have to have my spiritual eyes and ears open because I'm--I am an ambassador all over wherever I go and I need to be to ministering to those that are around me. Can I hear an "Amen"?

Does everybody here want to say, "Lord, I want to be a faithful ambassador too. I want to be a faithful witness to the Lord," amen? Stand up if it's your desire today to say, "Lord, You know what? I've been a little bit neglect--I've neglected my call to action, my call to mission," and I'm the first one here to admit, you know, sometimes, I pass by the person that I know is in need and--because it's not--I don't have the time right now or I have to do this. I'm the first one to recognize, my loved ones, but I want to be sure that I am connected to God every day through study and prayer, why? So that the Holy Spirit can reach me, so that I can reach others, amen? So I can be this powerful influence that God wants us to be to the community. I think that would be the focus of what this lesson was about, is that we're here not to be in our bubble, put our seatbelt on and hit cruise control and wait for Jesus to show up. No, my loved ones, we're to get out of the car and to go minister out to the needs of the community, right? And you are in your mission field, where you live, your friends, your family, your neighbors. That's your mission field. And God has you there for a purpose. He wants you to reach out to them and to minister to their needs and then what? When you gain their confidence, then you can present them the greatest need of the human heart which is Jesus Christ, amen?

Amen, so before we close, I have a word of prayer. I wanted to remind you of the gift that we have. It's called--it's a DVD, "Opening Our Hearts," right? And you can do this by a number of ways. You can call 1-866-788-3966 and offer number 827 or you can also text, right? In the digital world, we can also text the code, "SH132," and text number 40544. And this goes right in line with what we're talking about, opening our homes to Christ. Our homes are what? Our embassies, amen? They're embassies and they should be a light shining to our community to come in and so that we can be able to share Christ with them. Who says "Amen" for that? Amen, so we want to thank everybody that was with us on watching our lesson today and we hope to see you next week. God bless.

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.

Doug Batchelor: Today's smartphones are a virtual universe of information that fits in the palm of your hand. It's a good thing we have opposable thumbs. With it, you can buy your groceries, take care of your exercise regime, watch a video, listen to music, you can surf the international worldwide web which may not always be a good thing. And you know, there is more computer processing technology and power in a little smartphone today than was used by NASA to put a man on the moon. And I almost forgot, you can also use these to make a phone call. But who does that anymore?

Today, communication is not in complete sentences. It's all about short message servicing, or SMS texting. That's right, there are about 2.5 billion people in the world today that are communicating with their fellow humans in short bytes called texting. That's more data that is being used than those who are surfing the web or even playing video games. And, friends, nowhere is this more true than right here in the Philippines. Even though the Philippines has about 100 million people, they are responsible for the largest number of text messages of anywhere in the world. They're the 12th largest country, but they send 400 million text messages every day. Wow, that's a lot of finger fatigue. Even though the greatest number of texters is here in the Philippines, the record for the fastest texter in the world is from Brazil. A young man by the name of Marcel Fernandes Filho. He was able to text 25 very complicated words in a little more than 18 seconds. Wow, it takes me longer than that to just say, "I love you," to my wife and press "Send." All thumbs.

One of the neat things about texting is you can text just about anywhere. If you're surrounded with people, you want to send a personal message, you text. You're in a crowded subway or an airport, you can text. If you're surrounded by noise or nosy people, you can text. Just don't text while you're driving. That's what's so wonderful, friends. You can always text God a message of prayer from your heart. When you're wondering what school do I go to? What job do I take? Who am I supposed to date that may be a future life partner? Your prayers don't have to be long. The shortest prayer in the Bible is three words, when Peter prayed, "Lord, save me," and Jesus answered his prayer. And it doesn't matter how fast you can text when you're talking to God. He'll know what you're asking for and hear your prayer before you have a chance to say, "Amen," and press the "Send" button. In fact, friends, you'll bring joy to God when you send Him regular messages from your heart to His. So why don't you talk to Him right now?

Announcer: "Amazing Facts Changed Lives."

Male: I had a lot of pressure as a pastor's kid to perform. They're not allowed to make the same mistakes as everyone else. Not only are people looking at you, but they're judging your father according to what they see in you. After a while, you get tired of carrying that load as a child. By the time it got time for me to leave home, I was pretty much finished with all that. I just--I wasn't good enough and I didn't belong in there. So when I left home, I went to the world, at a dead run. You know, I partied and went to work and, you know, was living my life as the way I wanted to. And I just wanted to be left alone. One day, I was driving my motorcycle with some buddies of mine. All of a sudden, I had oil running everywhere, all up and down my arm and across my legs, and rippling down the tank in the wind. And we loaded it up on a trailer and sent it to the shop to have it fixed. So I went to pick it up and mechanic came out. He said, "You know," he said, "we got your front end rebuilt." He said, "That wasn't the bad part." He said, "The bad part was the only thing holding the front tire on was the weight of the motorcycle." So all I would have had to have done was accelerate quickly and front tire would have came off. And it got my attention, it got me to thinking, "You know, you hear a lot of people talking about, you know, the relationship that they have with Jesus and all that, and I didn't even know what that was supposed to look like. It began to work on my mind. I think God was beginning to speak to me. I believe that you can say I may be a poster child for the shepherd lost sheep story because I wasn't looking for God. I didn't really care. But He cared about me. And He came and got me.

Announcer: Together, we have spread the gospel much farther than ever before. Thank you for your support.

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