The Conclusion of the Matter

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 12:1-14, Revelation 14:6-12
Lesson: 13
Solomon concludes his thoughts about youth and age, then turns his attention to the horror and inevitability of death. He concludes the book with the true meaning of life.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church this morning for our Sabbath school.

I'd like to welcome our visitors that are here joining us this morning at church. I'd like to welcome our regular members that join us every week. And a very special welcome to you that are joining us this morning from across the country and around the world, either live on the internet this morning, through radio, through television, however you're joining us, Happy Sabbath and welcome. Our first song we're gonna sing this morning is hymn number 422, "marching to Zion." And this comes as a request from tony daws from derbyshire, united kingdom, from merlin ernie joy valoso, from saudi arabia, and from David robert fatimpuri from the united kingdom. And David robert says, "I am 7 years old and I want to say, get ready to go to heaven where we will be happy.

" And David robert is right. This morning we're gonna sing Marching to Zion... If you have a special request that you would like to sing with us on a coming Sabbath out of our hymnal, I invite you to go to our website at And there click on the music link. And you can request any song out of our hymnal and we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath.

Our next hymn is hymn number , "a mighty fortress is our God." And I do believe that debbie leaves the names that she cannot pronounce for my Sabbath. So here it goes. Princess aliyah zuri and nashan richards mitchell from jamaica, frank ford from barbados, anthony suna from england, charles raming from the bahamas, dwight Matthew from grenada, rebecca williams, ontario, Canada, cindy binkly tuliarre from Oklahoma, pablo miller from Orlando, florida, andre olivier, from south africa, frederick heart from jamaica, francisco ramon de dios from Mexico, denise okra from germany, nono mowimbi from england, and milamo nagululu from Washington d.c. Hymn number 506, "a mighty fortress." And we will sing the first, second, and the fourth verse... Our Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for this beautiful Sabbath day to come and worship you.

I ask you to please bless us as we listen across the world to Your Word, that we can be changed from the inside out to truly and only reflect you and who you are. We pray these things in the name of Jesus, amen. This morning, our lesson study will be brought to us by pastor harold white, administrative pastor here at Sacramento central. I want to thank you, thank our musicians this morning and they sang my very favorite song in the hymnal, "a mighty fortress." That is a song you should never sing only verse number 1, because it gives credit to our enemy. That song tells a little story.

I hope you noticed that as you sang it this morning. And it tells a story of victory through Christ, so. Welcome and glad each one of you are here at Sacramento central today. And we want to welcome all those who are listening by satellite, streaming, whatever, we are happy you are joining us this morning. Now, we have a free offer.

And that is offer number 727. And you can just send for this; it's called, "assurance, justification made simple," -788-3966. So make sure you order that. I know you will enjoy it. And we are in our last lesson for this quarter.

And before you leave this morning, make sure you get the new quarterly. We're going to be studying the new quarter, title is "thy word as a lamp unto my feet, the Bible for today." You think that's a good idea to study that? I think so too. So go make sure you get that. By the way, you'll not want to miss next Sabbath's Sabbath school class, because Pastor Doug is going to be doing something a little bit different. He's going to do what we would call team teaching.

I don't know who he's selected yet to team up with him. But he's gonna give that a try next Sabbath. And I think that'll be very exciting. I think it's kind of nice when two people can bounce off each other and just make the lesson even come to life even a little bit more. So don't miss next Sabbath.

Now we are on lesson number 13, the last one in studying this great book, Ecclesiastes. Now there's two questions. Did you learn anything this quarter? And the most important question is, were you convicted of something, and did you follow through on those convictions by submission? Isn't that the most important when we study the Word of God? It's not only to learn something, but it's to learn something for ourselves so that we can be more and more like Jesus. So I hope you really enjoyed this quarter's lesson. Now this morning's title is the conclusion of the matter.

Don't give a pastor that subject. He'll give you the conclusion of the matter. Oh, you know he could go on and on forever I suppose on that subject, but it is a wonderful subject and very simplistic really when you get right down to it. So let's jump into it this morning. And all of us can take our Sabbath school quarterlies and read our memory verse that's taken from Ecclesiastes 12 and verse 13.

Would you join me? "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." Pretty simple isn't it? Pretty clear. You know the lesson brings out in the opening part there that without God, life makes no sense. Do you agree with that? I mean really stop and think about it, what would you do without God? I don't understand how people can continue living and existing without God. And of course, they do. But without God, you and I have come to realize really life doesn't make any sense.

If there's only 70-something years of life and then that's the end, that's a pretty despairing thought, isn't it? Well, we really can't prove that God exists scientifically. You know he does. I know he does. You can produce hundreds and thousands of reasons why you believe he exists, but I think the number one reason, the number one proof is the Jesus story. Don't you? I mean the Jesus story is so fantastic.

I'm sure some mind could have come up with this kind of a thought, this kind of a story, but to actually see it lived out, hollywood couldn't produce such a thing. Over 30-something years of his life, to see his life accurately fulfill every single Bible prophecy given hundreds and thousands of years before. So the Jesus story indeed is the proof to the pudding that God is for real, at least in my estimation. Now before we get into the lesson, I want to share a little quotation. It's a quotation that pastors quite often I suppose would use at an end of a sermon, at an end of a lesson.

It's kind of an appeal kind of thing. But I want to take a look at this one little passage that comes out of the wonderful book called "Desire of Ages," the closing scenes of Christ here on earth. And it is really what makes the conclusion of the matter, the conclusion of the matter. And this is found on page 442. And I hope you can keep this little thought in your mind as we go through the lesson this morning.

And this is what it says. "The spotless Son of God hung upon the cross. His flesh lacerated with stripes, those hands, so often reached out in blessing, nailed to the wooden bars. Those feet, so tireless on ministries of love, spiked to the tree. That royal head pierced by the crown of thorns, though his quivering lips shaped to the cry of woe.

And all that he endured, the blood drops that flowed from his head, his hands, his feet, the agony that racked his frame, and the unutterable anguish that filled his soul at the hiding of his father's face, speaks to each child of humanity declaring, 'it is for thee that The Son of God consents to bear this burden of guilt. For thee he spoils the domain of death and opens the gates of paradise.'" What makes the conclusion of the matter what it is is the cross. Would you agree with that? Without the cross, there is no good conclusion to the matter. But praise the Lord; we know there is a good conclusion. So let's jump into our lesson this morning.

As you think back to Solomon, he could only see that. Looking forward, he can only see through a veil probably, not really totally clear. But we have the privilege of looking back and seeing that nothing else could have been done. The law could not have been changed. Nothing else could have been changed.

Nothing could have taken place under the sun, except for divine blood being shed, the divinity of Christ sacrificing himself. So let's have somebody read Ecclesiastes 12:1 for us this morning. Right here, pancho. We have Ecclesiastes 12. And we want to read the first verse to get us started in our lesson this morning.

"Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years approach when you will say, 'I find no pleasure in them.'" Okay, thank you very much. In Solomon's youth, he was very devout, very sincere. And he asked for the best gifts when God was asking him what he would desire. And he was very, very sincere. But of course, we know he went out and sowed his wild oats and even worse than that I suppose.

But now that he's older and he's writing, it's the age-old saying, "do what I say, not what I did." You know, we parents sometimes say that to our children. Listen to what I'm telling you. Don't do what I did. And that's what Solomon's appealing to the youth today. Remember your creator while you are still young.

You know, we love to hear the stories about people who have gone out there and sowed their wild oats. And they've probably, they've lived to tell about it. And maybe they have a fantastic story to tell. And we love those miracles that the Lord brings them back. And they give their life to Christ.

And you know, one of the first stories I heard when I became an adventist was the "gangs to God," story by elder halverson. Boy, what a fantastic story. We love those stories. But you know, there's a greater story than that. And I want to tell you what that story is by one of my favorite little stories.

And I wish all youth around the world could not only hear the story, but they could experientially understand and believe it. It's about two pastors in the early days of our country when there was still horse and buggy. And they were good friends. They lived in neighboring districts. And they would get together as often as they could.

One time one of the pastors, pastor asked his friend, he said, "we're having a special series of meetings. And we would like to have you come to kick it off on next Sabbath. Come and preach the sermon." And the pastor said, "sure, I would love to. That's a real honor that you asked me." So next Sabbath morning, he gets up bright and early. The birds are singing.

It's a beautiful Sabbath day. He is so excited. He's going to be going to see his friend. And he's going to get to preach to his church. And he's going down in his horse and buggy down the trail.

And his mind is on what he's going to be telling those dear people. And so much so that he wasn't really paying attention to guiding the horse. And there was one narrow, little passage between these two towns. And as he was going through there, he allowed the horse to get a little bit too far to the side where this big cliff was down hundreds of feet below. And as the horse and buggy got over too far the wheel of the buggy slipped off the edge.

And over the side goes the horse and the buggy and the pastor and everything. Well as he's falling to his supposed death, he reaches out and he grabs a root of a tree that's growing out the side of that cliff. And he's able to hang on. And he grabs on with both hands and he starts to pull himself up. And he finally is able to pull himself back up on top of the cliff.

And he is alive. But he's looking like a terrible disaster happened. His clothes is ripped. He's dirty. He's bruised.

But he's alive. And so he goes on and he walks to his friend's church. And his friend comes out to see him. And he says, "what in the world happened to you." He said, "well, I'll tell you. A tremendous miracle just took place.

" And so he tells him the whole story of how he was going over the cliff and he was able to reach out and grab that root growing out the side of the bank. Oh, and his friend said, "oh man, that is an amazing miracle. But I have a bigger miracle than that." And his friend said, "you do? Well tell me." He says, "well, I've traveled that road a hundred times and I've never gone over the cliff." My friends, the biggest miracles in life are the ones that happen in the hearts of young people as they grow up in Christian homes and they never go sow their wild oats. Oh, I think of the pastor back in the previous conference I was in. He was touted as one of the, he was a child preacher.

He was a good child preacher. He would go around to churches and preach. And now he's gone through college and he's a preacher. And he's winning many souls to Jesus Christ, never went out and sowed his wild oats. Those are the kinds of miracles that are the biggest miracles.

So I wish our young people could really grasp that. "Remember your creator in your youth." Imagine that. Imagine the rich young ruler that came to Jesus, if he would only have said yes what he could have done for the cause of God. Even though he went out, suppose he came back in 20 years. We don't have any indication that he did that, of course.

But suppose he did come back in years. Think of the 20 years of wasted time. So young people, if there's any listening out there today, remember your youth. That's in your youth, remember your creator. The text says, "remember now your creator in the days of your youth.

" And how many people, how many of our young people around the world are forgetting their creator for the things of creation? Isn't that sad? That's really what's happening. But there's so many things for our young people to get their eyes attached to. Because let's face it; the enemy is really Marketing our youth. Don't you believe? I mean some of the advertisements you see are totally zeroed in to our youth, to get them distracted. And some of the best advertisement as far as creativity, because they can hire the best because they have the most money, are the ones that deal with alcohol.

Have you ever noticed that? They're so funny and so creative. And they try to make you think, young people, that you cannot be happy unless you drink their product. I wish I had money to put on the other side of the story, advertisement. I've seen a lot of drunks in my day, in my lifetime. And there's nothing good about it.

There's nothing good about waking up the next day after drunk and realize that you don't even remember what you did. You might have stole. You might have committed adultery. You might have even killed somebody and end up in prison the rest of your life. What's so glamorous about that? I wish we could tell the other side of the story, don't you? My point is, we have to do everything we can do to educate our youth to remember their creator.

Just like Solomon is saying, "remember your creator." That's the most important thing. Now you know, these advertisements, they go on and they make you think that they're doing such charitable work. I'm thinking how dumb do they think we are. Some of your products is causing the handicaps and all these problems in the first place. It's just such a, such a cover-up.

And I don't know, it just gets to me sometimes. But we need to do everything we can to help our young people know that there's a better way, for the devil has a mass-marketing campaign going on so that the youth will forget their creator. Did you know that it was in his youth that ted bundy, remember that name, ted bundy went on to kill many young women? It was in his youth that it actually got started with him, by looking at pornography. And you know where he got pornography? I read this once, out of the trash cans of his neighborhood. People throwing away their pornography in their trash cans.

And that's where it all started for him. He didn't just one day decide to go out and kill some women. It all started in his mind, didn't it, with pornography. So we have to really do all we can to reach our youth with wholesome good things to do. And I just really, I wish to all the people watching today could be here in Sacramento central and see some of our young people.

They're so on fire for the Lord. And it just makes me thrilled and happy and so joyous. If you take a young person under your wing and help that person to remember his creator, while he's still young, you are really doing something. Now how important is it to remember our creator? Well, so much so that after 6 days of creation, God gave us what? A Sabbath to rest as a memorial of this creative power. And that leads us to the next point on Sunday's lesson that brings out there that the word for created is the word used in Genesis 1:1.

And it's used in the context of divine activity. Now, not only is it used in the context of divine activity, but it's also used in the pluralistic form that talks about let us make man in our image. So, it's a wonderful thing. Now I seem like I always get this lesson on creation. And I got a good friend that believes creation didn't happen in 6 days, but I believe it did because the Bible says it.

And just think about it, that from Genesis 1 and 2 up until Solomon, the story of creation didn't change. Did it? Did Solomon, the wisest man on earth at that time, did he give any indications there's something different than creation in 6 days? No. And then you have from Solomon to Jesus. Jesus is the wisest of all. Did he give any clarifications on creation being more than 6 days? No, he didn't do that.

And then you take it all the way to John the revelator. And he says he's gonna have a people in the last day. And they're gonna be proclaiming, as the lesson brings out this week, that they need to go back to the three angels' message talking about worshipping our creator. Did he give it a different idea about creation being more than 6 days? So, my point is I believe we need to trust the Bible. What do you think? We need to really trust the Bible.

You can't really believe in some of the things science is pointing out today. And there's a little passage I want to share later on in conjunction with another point. And we'll get to that. But let's go on to Monday and have somebody else read for us Ecclesiastes 12, and we want to do 2 through 7. Right over here somebody.

Tim, thank you very much. Ecclesiastes 12 and we want to read 2 through 7. "While the sun or the light, or the moon or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain; in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves; and the grinders cease because they are a few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened; and the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low; and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low. Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fear shall be in the way; and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and the desire shall fail. Because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets.

Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the Spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Okay, thank you very much. We have a passage of Scripture here that most commentators agree would be applicable to people getting older. And it brings out in the lesson that this is a beautiful and poetic description of the aging process. And I wonder how many if we took a survey this morning of elderly citizens would consider it poetic and beautiful.

I've heard a lot of people tell me through the years, you know, "getting older isn't all what it's cracked up to be." So I don't know. I guess it is beautiful and poetic. And I hope that your life as you're getting older is beautiful and poetic. I went to renew my driver's license last month. And I actually went in to do it.

And the lady looked at me. And she says, "well, we can't Mark down black hair on this." And so she wrote down, "gray." Oh boy, know how to hurt a guy. I said, "okay." So now for the first time in 46 years, I have on my driver's license that I have gray hair. You realize you're not as young as you used to be, right? There's little things that subtly tell you that. Sixty-one years old is not sixteen anymore.

I just did a switch there. So anyway, well, when the grinders cease, it's a, many people say that's referring to our teeth. What happened to people in Solomon's day if they didn't floss regularly? They lost their teeth. They didn't have the good dentists we have today in our world. And that's why it adds there, "the grinders cease because they are few.

" Back in those days, when you had a cavity, it just came out. It's an interesting world. You know we often dream about retirement. And then when it comes--i was talking to a pastor that retired not too long ago. And he says, "all of a sudden I felt like somebody just put me on a shelf and didn't need me anymore.

And so, you know, you have that to contend with. But so, you know, we have to really--in fact, I have seen some of the biggest struggles in people's lives in their last days, of faith, struggles of faith. So life never gets easier. So we just have to always remember our creator. And that's why Solomon again reminds us, "remember your creator," this time, "before the silver cord is loosed.

" My wife had a relative that always used to say, "many people give their flesh to the devil and their bones to the Lord." Well, by that she meant that a lot of people live it up for the devil and the world and then when they get older, they turn their life over to the Lord. Well, you know that's not actually true, because the older people get the less decisions that are made for Jesus. So no matter what age you are, you better do it now, because the older you get the harder it is to make that decision, statistically proven. So but Solomon keeps it all in order. Remember your creator when you are young and also in your twilight years.

"Strong men" applicable probably to legs and thighs, as it says they "bow" or bow themselves. We tend to shrink and get curved, as we get older, right? A little bit, our bones get curved. There's not such a thing as righteousness by senility. Okay. You don't get better just because you get older.

Is that right? You still have tests and trials of the flesh, no matter how long you live. As it says, "an old crocodile is still a menace. And an old crow still sings not like a nightingale." Right? It's just the same with us. Many years ago, my wife worked part time in a nursing home. And it was a little bitty town.

And the lady that owned this was a seventh day adventist. And she knew everybody in that community. And she worked part-time there. And she says--you know, she met all kinds of people that she took care of. Some of them were so sweet and so kind, appreciated everything she did.

Others were cantankerous and spit at her and kicked her and they were mean. And she was talking to this owner about that one day. And she says, "well, you know, what you see today is exactly what they were when they were 30 years old." They haven't changed any. That's the kind of person they were, 'cause she knew them all her life. Now once in a while you have an exception.

I knew a friend of mine who was, his dad was a methodist minister all of his life. And he came down with alzheimer. And he used to just cut loose with some of the worst horrible language. And he said, the boy said, "I never had heard my dad say one bad word in all my life. Now I take him to the doctor and we're sitting in the waiting room.

And he's just cutting loose with all these, all these bad, bad words. And then they come out and say, "reverend white, it's your turn." It was--his last name was white. Everybody looks around. "That's a pastor?" You know, "wow." Anyway, it was kind of embarrassing for him. But so there are exceptions to the rule.

"The ages of man," as someone has said, "are spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills, and wills." In that order, right? Yeah, I think so. And I can relate to the old-timer that says, "I've reached the age where happy hour is taking a nap." Can you relate to that? Yeah, I think so. But honestly, I think Solomon has the right approach. We should think about death. Don't you think so? It's a matter of reality.

I have known people that they have denied the fact that they're going to die right up until they die. I mean they would not even give in and admit that they're dying. My own father was not a church-going person. He was a good, good man. He was kind of like a good-samaritan type fellow in a way.

He would help anybody, but he didn't want to ever talk about religion. When he was in his last days, I tried to bring it around a couple times, you know, to talk with him seriously. And I said once, I said, "dad, are you afraid of anything?" He says, "no, are you?" And that's all he wanted to talk. He didn't want to talk about it. But I think we should talk about death, don't you? It's a reality.

What's, what's so bad about dying if you're a Christian? You sleep until you see Jesus. Oh, wow. That's not a bad thing. Verse 7 says, "then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the Spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Now of course, we know that breath and spirit are interchangeable. And it's not some thing that floats off.

God breathed into our nostrils the breath of life. And we became a human being, a human soul. We are just elements that are found in soil or in dust. And to me, actually just falling asleep in Jesus is so reassuring. I wouldn't want to go to sleep right now in death and be shot off to heaven.

I wouldn't want that, because then I'd have to look down and see some of my loved ones struggling in this world. And I'd have to watch them go through the time of trouble. How much fun is that? How enjoyable would heaven be if that was the situation? So I love the thought you just fall asleep, next thing you know, Jesus comes. The Bible is so wonderful, isn't it? Oh, the Bible is so wonderful. And now also, if you notice in this passage and any other place, there's no time frame as far as how long or short it should take for our body to return to dust.

Therefore, personally, I see nothing wrong with cremation. In fact, I'd prefer it. You know why? Because I don't like the thought of maggots taking over my brain and my body over a period of time, and making me stink and all that stuff. I'd rather be burned up, purified, and that's it. That's my personal opinion.

If you find something, biblically, that goes au contraire to that, I'd be glad to listen. But since we're on this subject, did you notice, I'm sure you have, the latest find that our scientists have found, that they found the grave of Jesus and Joseph? And pastor Batchelor had a good comment last week in his sermon. That is so amazingly absurd. There were so many Josephs and Jesuses living at that time, as many Johns or joes living in our time. Right? And but the thing that they said, I heard on one newscast was, "well, this doesn't take away from his resurrection.

He could have resurrected in spirit and left his bones here," right, "his body here." And what does that support? It supports the immortality of the soul. One of the last two great deceptions we are told that will be here upon this earth: that people don't die. You just live on. The soul somehow lives on. The bottom line is can we trust science or should we trust the Word of God? And this is the little quotation I referred to earlier I wanted to share.

It's found in "Great Controversy," page 732. It says, "to many, scientific research has become a curse. God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the world in discoveries in science and art. But even the greatest minds, if not guided by the Word of God in their research, become bewildered in their attempts to investigate the relations of science and Revelation. Many accept mere theories and speculations as scientific facts.

And they think that God's Word is to be tested by the teachings of science, falsely so-called." So I don't know about you, but I want to just go by what the Bible says. Don't you? I believe that he did come down off that cross and he was buried in Joseph of arimathea's grave, not some other place. And I believe that he arose bodily fashion, and that when he ascended into heaven, the disciples saw his body going up. Right? Didn't leave his bones back here. I believe the Bible when it says these things.

That's right. So 500 people saw him go. So that's, I just believe the word. These are interesting times because the devil is trying to give us any kind of deception he possibly can. Let's go on to Ecclesiastes 12.

And let's have somebody read verses 9 through 12. Right over here. I got one back there, too. Wherever you're closest to. Ecclesiastes 12:9-12.

"And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many Proverbs. The preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright, words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one shepherd. And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.

" Okay. Thank you very much. I wonder what Solomon would say today? You know, you can go to the library of congress, just in that one building alone there's over 134 million items in various forms and languages and discipline formats, over 134 million in one building. And if you knew everything in that building except the plan of salvation, would you be wise or would you be unwise? You'd be unwise, wouldn't you? You can, you can know the Bible frontwards and backwards, learn every word in the Bible. You could know Hebrew and Greek frontwards and backwards, but if you don't know the plan of salvation, Jesus Christ as your Savior, you don't know much, do you? It's very, very important that we must understand that.

Studying is a good thing. We need to study. We need to study wonderful books, books that lead to Jesus, books that lead us to the truth. Now, let's have somebody else read. I think we have somebody here in the front wants to read.

Timothy 3:7, 2 Timothy 3:7. Should have gave you a little warning on that, 2 Timothy 3:7. "Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." Okay, thank you. Very short verse, but it talks about a people who are ever learning. Maybe they could read all 134 million of those books, but they never come to a knowledge of the truth.

That's a pretty sad scenario, isn't it? What makes a difference? Well, it's kind of a three-step thing. You need to seek the Lord with all your heart. And when you do, Jeremiah 29:13 says, "you will find him." So you need to really seek. You need to "humbly submit yourself to his wisdom," James 1:5. And thirdly, you need to put into practice what he's teaching you.

You go to the third grade. Once you study and put in to practice those things you learned in the third grade, you move on to the fourth grade, right? And the same thing applies to us in a practical matter spiritually speaking. And now how about someone reading for us another text regarding to books, John 21:25? John 21:25, somebody have that and want to raise their hand? Right over here. Tim, thank you very much. John 21:25.

"And there are also many things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen." That text always kind of entices you, doesn't it? You wished, you wished there was more. You'd read everything there was, wouldn't you? I would. But I think God was very smart in not giving us so much, just enough that we understand Jesus was who the Bible said he would be. And he did do exactly what it--because you know, I've studied with a lot of people.

And it's easy to put off that decision to surrender yourself entirely to God. They say, "well, you know, I need to study more. I need to study more." We do need to study before we're baptized. That's for sure. We need to understand a lot of Bible truths.

But don't put off that decision. Just think if there was even more to read, we'd probably put it off longer. I believe God has given us all we need to know to know what the conclusion of the matter is. The conclusion of the matter boiled down, Solomon says, "fear God and keep his commandments, for this is," what? It's the "whole duty of man." Fear or a reverence, respect for God would lead to a true submission to God. Do you believe that? I think if we have a genuine respect for God, it will lead us to submission to him.

You know we see this on different levels in this world. We have a staff of four pastors here, the secretary and treasurer, and we get together, and we pray. And we talk about things in the church. And you know, sometimes we don't exactly 100% see eye to eye on things right off. But you know, in the 3 1/2 years, I can honestly say there's not one time that we've even come close to arguing.

So that's a wonderful thing. But you know we study these things out. We prayerfully talk about them. And sometimes our senior pastor, pastor Batchelor, will turn to maybe our youth pastor and say, "well, that's your area. You make the decision and we'll support you.

" Why? Because we respect him. Sometimes all of us turn to our senior pastor and say, "you're the senior pastor. You make the decision. And we'll support you." But we can do that because we respect each other. And when you have a genuine respect for God, doesn't that make you want to do what he says? Doesn't that make you want to support everything he's taught us? It does me.

It just makes sense. So I think it's, I think we see that thing living out in our lives today. I believe Solomon could have added two words and it would have been just as truthful. He could have said, "fear God and you will keep his commandments." But he puts it in the form of a command. Because I knew he knew that we needed to be commanded because it just makes sense.

But if you do fear God, you will keep his commandments. Do you think a child can understand that? I think so. I think it doesn't get very complicated. It's so basically easy and simple. I've been reading the Bible through and I just went through Jeremiah not too long ago.

And I was actually kind of glad when I got to the end of Jeremiah, because Jeremiah gets a little depressing after a while. There's all these messages that come from God through Jeremiah to his people to try to get them to come back and obey him. And they wouldn't do it. And he says if you don't, this is what's gonna happen. And this is what's gonna happen.

And they continue and said, "no, we don't do it." They didn't have respect for God. They didn't have respect for his message. They didn't have respect for his messenger. And they kept on living a life of disobedience. And what happened? They suffered the consequences so much so that the very next book is the book of Lamentations, five chapters of lamenting.

Deep, serious lamenting of what happened to them, because they didn't keep God's commandments. It's so simple. You know, if Jesus comes and there would be some people that lived on for another ten years, boy, could they write a book of Lamentations. But you know what? I venture to say, you along with myself, I could write a book of Lamentations. You know what it would be based upon? It'd be based not upon my holy living.

It'd be based on my not living up to keeping all of his commandments. Every trouble I've gotten into in life has had to do with some kind of disobedience. It comes down to that. Loving, reverence and respecting, fearing God to the point that you want him to live in you so you can keep his commandments. Now, Wednesday talks about faith, law and judgment.

And things get so mixed up on this. It's just amazing. The devil has taken the subject of judgment and twisted it around to make people quake in their boots. They scare the living daylights out of people on a subject that should be a positive thing. On the day of atonement, the day of judgment in the old testament, at the end of that day, there was such peace and joy.

And the judgment should be the same with us, because we have an advocate with The Father, Jesus Christ our Lord. It's a positive. But the devil's taken it and twisted it. And he's taken faith; he's taken faith and law, and twisted that around. Faith and law have become so maligned that people begin to think faith does away with law.

And law is some kind of enemy of faith. It's all twisted around. It reminds me of a sheriff that was trying to get a new deputy. So he was interviewing this guy. And he knew this guy wasn't real sharp.

So he says, "well, what's one and one?" And the guy says, "eleven." Sheriff says, "well, that's not exactly what I was asking for, but I can't say that he's wrong. He says, "okay, well, what two days of the week start with the letter 't'? And he says, "today and tomorrow." "Well, I can't quite," you know, "okay, okay," he says. "Okay," he says, "tell me who killed Abraham lincoln." And the man thought, he thought, and he says, "I don't know." He says, "okay, well why don't you go home and work on that for awhile." So the guy leaves and goes over to his buddy's. They're waiting to hear how the interview went. And he says, "I got the job.

The interview went fine. They have already put me on my first murder case." Well, that's really twisting things around, isn't it? He had it so twisted around. And that's what they do with the law. I can't tell you how many stories I have heard so twisted when it comes to the law and grace and law and faith. The devil has worked so amazing.

I mean it's not a joking matter. There's a passage in this great book again, "Desire of Ages," that right after the crucifixion, the devil went into action with his new plan. Let me just read you what it says, page 447. "Another deception was now to be brought forward. Satan declared that mercy destroyed justice, that the death of Christ abrogated The Father's law.

The very means by which Christ established the law, satan represented as destroying it. Here will come the last conflict of the Great Controversy between Christ and satan." Isn't that amazing? Taking the cross itself saying the law was done away with because of what Jesus did there. A little bit farther in "Desire of Ages," it says, "every man will be tested: obedience or disobedience is a question to be decided by the whole world. All will be called to choose between the law of God and the laws of man." So we have a choice, don't we? We have a choice. Now I have one of my own little ecclesiastical, proverbial-type sayings, when it comes to the law.

And it's like this. Moses' second trip up Mount Sinai proves that it is foolish to break the law just because others are doing it. Remember when Moses came down and took those stones and crashed them down? Why'd he do that? Because all these people were disregarding the law of God. Well, doesn't the devil work like that? I mean in your life. He does all the time.

"Well, you know they're doing this over there. This church is doing that, you know. And pastor so-and-so even. He's doing it; it must be okay." Well, that's not the question. The question is did Jesus do it? Jesus never did it if it was wrong, right? He never did it just because others were doing it.

And we must never do it either just because others are. There's an old story that's been around. I'm sure you've probably heard it. It's about early days of this country, a navajo young man, an indian. And he was at a meeting where they were talking about law and grace.

Now this could be, this story can be, has been misused by many. But there's talking about law and grace. And it's not becoming very clear. So one of the fellows in the group says, "well, let's ask our friend here what he thinks about it." The young indian fellow stands, he says, "well, I want, I've been listening very carefully because I want to take back as much knowledge to my people as I can." He says, "I do not understand all that you've talked about, but I have to admit, I don't think you do either." And he says, "but let me tell you what I think." He says, "mister ironside brought me here by way the longest way of the railroad trip that I've ever been on. And when I got here I saw the most beautiful railroad station and hotel I've ever seen in my life.

And I was walking around there and I saw this sign. And it says, 'do not spit.' And I looked around on the ground and a whole bunch of people had spitted." That's how he said it. "They had spitted there." And he thought how amazing is that? He said, "I didn't think too much about it. And behold, before long, I spitted too." And then he said, "and then I went to the home of the lady that invited me here to oakland. And I looked in her house and her house was the most gorgeous house I've ever been in.

Her furniture was elegant. And the carpet was so thick and lush; I didn't even want to step on it." And she says, "well you wait here in the room, in this drawing room. And I'll go see how they're doing with the dinner." So he looks around these two fabulously decorated rooms. And he says, "I start looking for the sign." You know what sign he's looking for, the sign that says, "do not spit." And he said, "I didn't see any sign." There was no sign. He thought to himself, "well, that's terrible.

Why don't they have a sign, 'do not spit?' That'd be awful if they just spit in here in this beautiful place." But then he said, "I looked around and I didn't see where anybody spitted anyplace." And he says, "that's really interesting. Where the sign says, 'do not spit,' lots of people spitted. Where there was no sign at all in that beautiful home, nobody spitted. Now I understand. The sign is law, but inside that beautiful home is a picture of what grace is.

They love their home so much they don't dare spit in it." Isn't that what it's all about? We love God so much, we don't dare spit on his law. That's the new covenant experience. They had the law in their mind and in their heart, because of love. They loved their home. If they can love a home, we can certainly love our God even more, can't we? And if we have that love and respect for our God, we won't trample on his law.

We don't want to trample on his law. When we do, we are immediately sorrowful that we did, if we have that loving relationship going on with, with our Lord. Now this whole thing about the conclusion of the matter is a conclusion of the matter because of the cross, but it wasn't just for human beings. Again, in page 444, "Desire of Ages," says, "to the angels in the unfallen worlds, the cry, 'it is finished,' had a deep significance. It was for them as well as for us that the great work of redemption had been accomplished.

Not until the death of Christ was the character of satan clearly revealed to the angels or to the unfallen worlds." You see now they could truly see. In that vision, they could keenly see that the law was so perfect that it had to have the spilt blood of the lamb of God. That's how perfect the law is. And they could see all across the universe. It's not just for us, but even for them.

We must iterate what we said earlier. The conclusion of the matter is the conclusion of the matter because of the cross, right? It's because of the cross. "Fear God and keep his commandments." Well, we are going to be in for some exciting lessons this next quarter. I want to remind you this morning that our little free offer is number 727. It's entitled, "assurance: justification made simple.

" So be sure to send for that, -788-3966. And for those of you who might have tuned in late or walked in late; make sure you don't miss next Sabbath. Pastor Batchelor will be here. And he's going to be doing something a little bit different called "team teaching." I don't know who he's gonna have with him, but he's gonna have somebody. And that should be very exciting.

As we open up a new quarter, "the word is a lamp unto my feet, the Bible for today." Make sure, if you are here in the Sacramento church this morning, that the deacons will come forward in just a little bit. And they will be handing out your quarterly for the next quarter. And hope you people out there get your quarterly, so you will be able to join us next Sabbath also. The conclusion of the matter is what it is. Shall we obey God? Shall we keep his commandments? Shall we love him and respect him with all of our hearts so that he can live in us, and write that law in our hearts and in our minds? I say amen, right? Amen.

If you've been encouraged by today's message and would like to know more of what God's Word says to you today, Amazing Facts invites you to visit our educational website at At Bible universe, you'll discover exciting truths that will fill you with peace and purpose. The mysteries of the Bible will unfold for you at your own pace. Visit today. Expand your universe.

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