A Step in Faith

Scripture: Philippians 2:5-7
Date: 09/26/2020 
Lesson: 13
Heaven will be worth any sacrifice we make on earth. There will be sacrifices along the way, but the joys of service will outweigh them today, and the eternal joy of living with Christ throughout all eternity will make any sacrifice we make here seem insignificant.
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Doug Batchelor: Hi friends, want to welcome you to our "Sabbath School Study Hour." And it is such a joy to be able to come together with you each week like this, and especially now during this global pandemic. We've just seen that our online students, the number of them has gone through the roof, if you will. And it's just a wonderful opportunity to be able to gather with you, and you might be watching this lesson on the day it is presented because we are streaming this live, on one of the various satellite networks, or on Facebook, or YouTube, or one of the other delivery platforms. You may be watching it the same day the rest of the country normally studies the lesson, after it's been edited and added the closed captioning. But whatever the format or the time, we're just so thankful that we can come together with you and study the Word of God. And it is a blessing.

You know, today's sort of special because we're coming to the end of our quarter that we've been dealing with on the subject of making friends for God, and sharing your faith, and witnessing. And we do have a free offer we want to tell you about, and that offer is a book written by yours truly called "12 Steps to Revival." We all know that before the Lord comes, God's people earnestly need to experience revival. We need to return to the faith that was once delivered to the saints. And as you go through this book, it'll give you some of the keys so you can experience a personal revival. And if followed, we think it'll bleed out into the churches as well. It is free for you.

If you'd like a copy of this book, you can simply call the number 866 if you're in North America, 866-788-3966. That's 866-STUDY-MORE, and you can get it, you can download it by texting, and this would be I suppose anywhere in the world you can go online and download this, text "SH001" to 40544 and get your copy of the book "12 Steps to Revival." Don't just get it, then read it, and you might even pass the link onto your friends and they will also be blessed in turn as well.

Well, you know, before we get into our lesson study for today, I think we're going to be blessed right now by some special music by one of our members here, Emma Quedzuweit.

♪ I need thee every hour,

♪ ♪ most gracious Lord.

♪ ♪ No tender voice like thine can peace afford.

♪ ♪ I need thee, O I need thee.

♪ ♪ Every hour I need thee.

♪ ♪ O bless me now, my Savior, I come unto thee.

♪ ♪ I need thee every hour, stay thou nearby.

♪ ♪ Temptations lose their

♪ ♪ power when thou art nigh.

♪ ♪ I need thee, O I need thee.

♪ ♪ Every hour I need thee.

♪ ♪ O bless me now, my Savior,

♪ ♪ I come to thee.

♪ ♪ I need thee every hour, in joy or pain.

♪ ♪ Come quickly and abide, or life is vain.

♪ ♪ I need thee, O I need thee.

♪ ♪ Every hour I need thee.

♪ ♪ O bless me now, my Savior,

♪ ♪ I come to thee.

♪ ♪ I need thee every hour, teach me thy will,

♪ ♪ and thy rich promises in me fulfill.

♪ ♪ I need thee, O I need thee.

♪ ♪ Every hour I need thee.

♪ ♪ O bless me now, my Savior,

♪ ♪ I come to thee.

Doug: Thank you, Emma. I need thee every hour. She has such a beautiful voice. By the way, Emma is the daughter of one of our pastors here at Granite Bay, we call him "Pastor John Q" because some people can't say Quedzuweit. And his wife Cathy, and just so glad she's sharing her gifts with us. You know, before we dive into the lesson, and that's our last lesson in the quarterly talking about making friends for God, thought we'd give you a little preview of what's coming up.

So, for our next quarter, we're going to be studying the subject of education. All of life is about education. And so, about the importance of getting that knowledge and an education that not only benefits us here in this life, but education that you actually take with you from this life on into eternity. And so, very important study. By the way, you can go to the Sabbath School study guides online. And usually once the studies begin, they post the lesson so you can actually download them from week to week, study them right online. Or if you're in an area where you have a neighborhood Seventh-day Adventist Church, we invite you to go there, ask them for a copy. And some of you are not where you have a local Seventh-day Adventist Church.

We have a number of people who are watching right now, you are part of the online Granite Bay membership. We want to welcome you as well, and it's so exciting. We hear people that are way out in the outback of Australia, or they're up in the Yukon of Canada, and there's no local church, but they do have satellite internet. And so, they are some of our online members. If you're in that group where you do not have a local Adventist church that you can attend, you'd like to know, "How do I become part of the Granite Bay Hilltop Seventh-day Adventist Church?" then you can just go to granitebaysda.org. Say, "What do I do to become one of your online members?" And we'd love to welcome you as a family and like to be your pastor. If you don't have anywhere you can attend, then do that.

All right, well, we're going to get into our lesson. The lesson today is the last in our quarter on making friends with God, it's lesson number 13, and the subject is "A Step in Faith." Now, we have a memory verse. Memory verse comes through us from Philippians chapter 2, verse 5 to 7, one of the great passages in the Bible. "Let this mind be in you." He says, "Let it be in you," welcome it. "Which was also in Christ Jesus, who being the form of God, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but He made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men."

Christ laid aside His divinity when He came into this world. People wonder sometimes when Jesus said in Matthew 24, speaking of the Second Coming, "No man knows the day or the hour, not even the Son, but the Father only," they thought, "How could Jesus be God the Son and not know all things including the date of His return?" Well, when Christ was on earth, as it says here in Philippians, He laid aside His divinity. He made Himself of no reputation. He came in the form of a man. And when Jesus was a baby, He did not have all of the knowledge of the Library of Congress swirling around in His head. He had to learn to walk, and talk, and eat just like other children. And the only way that He had supernatural enlightenment is the way that you and I have it as revealed from the Father in the Spirit. So, He lived as a man among man, guided and Spirit-filled to show us how to live.

You know, there's a beautiful quote as we enter into the lesson, and it's from the book "Desire of Ages." By the way, it's page 131. I'd like to share that with you. "Never can the cost of our redemption be realized until the redeemed shall stand with the redeemer before the throne of God. Then as the glories of the eternal home burst upon our enraptured senses, we shall remember that Jesus left all of this for us, that He not only became an exile from the heavenly courts, but for us He took the risk of failure and eternal loss when He came to this world. There were times He was tempted to believe that He would not succeed, that He could lose it all. He took that risk of eternal failure. Then we will cast our crowns at His feet and raise the song, 'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power in riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.'" Quoting there from Revelation 5, verse 12.

Once we get to heaven, we will understand the sacrifice and the commitment that Jesus made, when we see all the glories. Right now, we don't appreciate what it was for Him, the condescension of Christ to leave the glories of heaven and come to our world to save us. And we'll probably wish at that point that we had served Him better here in this life.

Now, being a Christian requires a total commitment. Jesus said that, "Whoever's going to come after Me must deny himself daily, take up his cross." Cross meant you are crucified with Christ, that you are to deny yourself, that we're to all pray that prayer that Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, "Lord, not my will, but thy will be done." And that's the biggest battle that anybody really faces, it's a total consecration.

You've probably heard that story before about the chicken and the pig on the farm, obviously a parable. And they were talking to each other, and the chicken said to the pig, "You know, that farmer has been so good to us, he feeds us so well." And the pig says, "You know, you're right." He says, "Every day like clockwork, he feeds us until we can't eat anymore. He's been so good." And the chicken says, "We ought to do something nice for the farmer." And the pig said, "Well, what do you have in mind?" He said, "I think he'd really appreciate it if we would provide for him a bacon and eggs breakfast." And the pig thought about that for a minute and he said, "Well, for you, that's a contribution. But for me, it's total commitment."

And that's what it means to be a Christian. We put our lives on the line, it is a total commitment. So, the love that Jesus offers us the Bible tells us is a self-sacrificing love. And you can also read there in Philippians chapter 2, verse 5, I'm going to read a little farther this time. And it says, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant." He came as a servant. He said, "I'm your Lord and Master, but I come unto you as one that serves." "Made Himself of no reputation in the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore, because He humbled Himself the most, God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name that is above every name, and that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow of those in heaven, of those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father."

You know, Christ, who made Himself the lowest, will be exalted the highest. You probably heard it said before that he that humbles himself will be exalted, and he that exalts himself will be humbled. The one who humbled himself the most in the universe is Jesus, He will be exalted the highest. The one who exalted himself the highest, the devil, will be humbled the most. And following that great White Throne Judgement, Satan is going to be judged. And all the sins that he has caused the world and all who have ever lived to commit, he will embrace and pay the penalty for those sins. The Bible tells us that--God tells us in Ezekiel, "I will bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, and it will devour thee. And I will bring thee to ashes on the earth in the sight of them that behold thee."

In the sight of all. Satan, who wanted to be worshipped as God, is going to be humbled and cast into the lake of fire. And it says, "He will burn day and night forever and ever," there meaning until he is forever gone. And, "But he who sinned the most will suffer the longest." But Jesus, who humbled Himself the most, is going to be exalted the highest." And so, you see this incredible reversal of fortunes. And this was evident at the cross. There at the cross, you see the devil's love of power. And there at the cross, you see Christ's power of love. There at the cross, you see Jesus the king humbling Himself even to the point of the cross. Being stripped, crown of thrones, humiliated, spit upon, derided by His people, and the devil was heaping all of that on Him. Well, all of that now is going to come back on the devil in the end, and Jesus is going to be at the right hand of the Father. And so, this is something that we will share in in one way or another.

That's right, all of us. If we choose to follow Jesus, if we deny ourselves now, we will be exalted with Him then. The Bible teaches he that humbles himself will be exalted. It says that if we're willing to suffer with Him now, we will share in His glory in the future. He that seeks to save his life will lose it. If you live for yourself, put yourself first like the devil did, you lose everything. But if you put Christ first, you get everything. That's why the Bible says it's more blessed to give than receive. And the first and most important thing that we give is our hearts. It is more blessed to give your life than to live for yourself. If you give your life, then you get the blessings. And the greatest blessings come in giving and serving others. So Jesus, who was equal with God from all eternity, made himself of no reputation.

Now, some people wonder because it tells us that everything is going to be done to the glory of the Father that somehow Jesus has lesser glory. God the Father, the Son, God the Spirit are all omniscient, they're omnipotent, and God the Father and the Spirit anyway are omnipresent. Christ is omnipresent through God the Spirit. Jesus took on the form of a human that He keeps. He retains that even after his resurrection. But they're all equal, the differences are in the roles that they share.

But Jesus, you know, some people say Jesus is not fully God, that he was begotten, meaning that at some point in the remote ancient recesses of time, that there was just the Father, and He brought forth Jesus, He begot Him in some way. Well, that will mean that He brought Him into existence. That means He was created, and that would mean that Jesus did not create all things because He was created by someone else. And so, as a result of that, then you're denying the Trinity truth. But you can read here in that book, "Desire of Ages," "In Christ is life original, unborrowed, underived." And that's "Desire of Ages" 530.

Yeah, life is original in Him. He did not receive it from the Father. Christ is the creator. All things that were made were made by him. And so, just giving us a picture of what Jesus sacrificed when He came to this earth. And you look at the commitment, talking about sacrifice, there's several examples in the Bible of people who were willing to walk away that they might serve God. Every Jew looks back to Abraham as the one who went out by faith, not knowing where he went. because God called him, he walked away from a very comfortable life in Ur of the Chaldees, where he had great wealth. And as a result of that, he was then honored by God. But he became a stranger and a pilgrim because he looked for an eternal city.

And then you read about Moses, and this is in Hebrews 11, verse 24. "By faith Moses, when he became of age, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproaches of Christ's greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he looked to the reward. He looked beyond to the ultimate eternal reward. Jesus looked to the reward when He came to our world. You know what that reward was? Jesus wasn't saying, "Oh, I'm going to sacrifice everything to come to this world so I can have a golden crown and live on golden streets."

The joy that was set before Jesus was our salvation. Jesus endured all the suffering on the cross and the living among men for 33 and a half years so that he could have us with him in the kingdom. That was the joy that was set before Him.

Moses walked away from--I remember years ago going to Cairo, Egypt. And I understand they've just completely rebuilt the Cairo Museum. I want to go someday and see the new museum. But it was rather primitive when we went, but we saw the treasures of King Tut. Now, King Tut was a rather poor king in Egypt. I mean, you look at the pyramids that were built and they were just so massive. King Tut was built in a tomb carved underground. It was comparatively small. It was ridiculously small compared to the massive monuments and tombs that were built by the Pharaohs. And well, Tut was a pharaoh, but he died probably at 19, and so didn't have much, but they found his treasures undisturbed after over 3,000 years. And you look at the gilded, staggering, splendid treasures of King Tut there at the Cairo Museum, gold everywhere. And Moses lived during a time in Egypt where he could've had much more of that. It was the richest kingdom in the world bar none at that time, and the greatest prestige and power and architecture unrivaled by any other empire. And Moses walked away from all of that to follow the south end of northbound sheep. And he humbled himself like that, and God then said he was willing to do that because he was looking for his treasures in heaven.

If we're going to follow the Lord and be His witnesses, the most important step is that step of total commitment that we make. Once we are crucified with Christ, we are not afraid of anything. I know that you might feel some natural fear for witnessing, but when you're really dead to self, you're not so much worried about what people think of you. You're more interested in what they think of God. And you're--you become more bold.

You know, there's several times in the Bible the apostles prayed for the Holy Spirit, and in their prayer for the Holy Spirit, they specifically prayed for boldness. You can read about that in Acts chapter 4, and you can read about it when Paul talks about the armor of God. He says, "And pray for me that I might be bold." And so, I think one of the things that we need to remember is, Christians, make that complete commitment. Don't be afraid to try. I think I'd rather do something wrong than succeed at doing nothing very well. And so, take a risk, step out in faith, and be willing to share your faith with others.

All right, so under the section called--we were just looking at Jesus's self-sacrificing love. Under the section called "Commitment's Call," let's look at some verses here. In Matthew 9:9, you can see how people were willing to walk away and follow Jesus. "Jesus passed by from there and he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, 'Follow Me.' So, he arose and followed Him." It sounds like he walked away from the cash register. Maybe there's others, or he had some attendants that were helping him. But he heard the call of Jesus, and this publican who'd just become tired and empty of the life of the publican, he walked away from all of that and was willing to follow Jesus. So, he arose and he followed Him.

And then you can look in Matthew 8, verse 21, "Another one of His disciples said, 'Lord, let me first go bury my Father.'" And Jesus said, "Look, if you're going to follow Me, it's got to be priority right now." He said, "Follow me," meaning follow me now. "Let the dead bury their own dead."

Now, He wasn't saying this man could not go to his father's funeral. The way this is understood in the Hebrew, it's actually written in Greek, but in the Hebrew culture, when a person's parents were aging, they'd say, "I need to stay and bury my father or bury my mother," because they had become weak. And he said, "Look, I want to follow you, but you know, I need to take care of this or that." You know, as important as it is to honor your father and your mother, Jesus said, "Whoever doesn't love Me more than father, mother, husband, wife, children, houses, lands is not worthy of Me." And I know it sounds pretty harsh, but he says serving Jesus needs to be numero uno, as they say. Seek ye first the kingdom of God. It's got to be the priority." He said, "Let the dead bury the dead, but you follow Me."

Now, what did Christ mean when He said, "Let the dead bury the dead"? I used to read that and, in my mind, I would conjure up these images of zombies conducting funerals, the dead burying the dead. But He's talking about those who do not have Christ, do not have life, those who are dead in trespasses and sins. He said, "Look, let lost people who are not following Me take care of those things, but you follow Me."

And every now and then, I'll get a question and someone will say, "Pastor Doug, you know, I work--I work at a hospital, and there's people that need service, they need treatment every day. And so, on the Sabbath Day, someone needs to take care of them." And I say, "Well, are you ever able to trade your schedules?" If you're a nurse or you're a doctor and you're working in a hospital, those people do need care, are there people there that do not keep the Sabbath? "Oh yeah." I said, "Let the dead bury the dead." Hopefully, that's not a good--such a good analogy for a hospital, but you get the point. If people aren't serving the Lord and they don't know Him, let them work on Sabbath, say, "Look, I'll take your place on Sunday," and trade with them. But you don't want to be missing all of your time with God.

Another person, Mark chapter 1, verse 16, it says, "He walked by the Sea of Galilee and He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting the net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, 'Follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men.'" Now, you might be thinking, "How do they know to follow Him?" Well, this is taking place, notice Jesus is baptized in the Jordan down by the northern part of the Dead Sea. Many of the disciples--Peter, James, John, Andrew--they were all witnesses of his baptism. They had met Jesus at some point.

They had heard John the Baptist say, "This is the Son of God. This is the Lamb of God that takes way the sin of the world." So, they knew who Jesus was. So, when they saw Him later and He walked by them and said, "Follow Me," they understood that what His commitment was, He is the Messiah. And they walked away from their nets and they followed Him. "Immediately left their nets and they followed Him. And when He had gone a little farther, He saw there James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother. They were in their boat mending their nets. And immediately, He called them and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and they went after Him."

Some people, some family members would not understand putting God first like this. I used to wonder, when Uriah came home from the battle, the battle was still going on with the Ammonites, and David asked for a report on the battle, David couldn't understand why Uriah did not go home to see Bathsheba, who was one of the most beautiful women in the land. And David even was mystified, he said, "Look, I brought you home from the battle, I'm giving you a couple days R&R. How can you slept at the gate with my servants, you didn't go home? I even offered you a catered meal." Remember, David was trying to get him to go home and sleep with his wife because Bathsheba was now pregnant with David's baby, and he was trying to get a--create a coverup. And Uriah gave the most remarkable answer. He said, "The ark of God and my Lord's commanders, Joab and the soldiers are out in the field dwelling in tents. So, will I go home, and eat and drink and sleep with my wife?" Said, "I'll not do this thing. I'm going to make God's battle and God's kingdom my priority."

And you wonder, "How many wives would understand that logic?" "What? You were right up the street?" You see, the Bible tells us that David could see Uriah's house from his house, that's how they got in trouble. "You were right up the street and you did not come home and see me?" But he had--he had a concept if the battle wasn't won, it won't be a good example for my men of putting God's kingdom first.

Zebedee could've said, "What are you boys doing? I'm your aging father. You're going to leave me here with the servants and follow Jesus?" You know what this tells us, friends? That there is a priority in seeking first God's kingdom that should go above every other earthly priority.

Now, you know, I think that a lot of people might use that as an excuse to not take care of their families and their spouse and stuff, but you know, you need to--you need to also take care of your family, you need to love them, that's part of God's commandment. But when He calls us is what I'm talking about.

When God calls us to follow Him, you shouldn't have any family member interrupt that call, is that clear? When God calls us to follow him, this is what we're talking about, not neglecting our families. And so, you read on here, there's another one, Mark chapter 10, verse 28: "Then Peter began to say to him, 'See, we have left all and followed You.' And Jesus answered and said, 'I tell you that there's no one who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for My sake and the gospel's who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands with persecutions. And in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.'"

You know, friends, this is reminding us that it costs something to follow Jesus. But Jesus said it pays more than it costs. Will you have to make sacrifices to follow Jesus? Yes, you sometimes--it may cost you houses and lands, but He says, "You're going to get more houses and lands." Not only in heaven, but in this life.

You know, when I followed the Lord, both my mother and my father for different reasons thought that I had lost it. And they kind of wrote me off as crazy. And they thought I'd become a fanatic. And I'm sure from their perspective, I had. But you know, there's a Psalm in the Bible, it says, "If your father and mother forsake you, the Lord will take you up." And when I made a decision to follow the Lord first in the little town where I was baptized, Covelo, said there was all of these old saints in the church. They all adopted me. And all of a sudden, I had more fathers, and mothers, and grandmothers, and grandfathers than I could shake a stick at. Now, eventually my mother and father kind of reconciled with me, but at first there it was tough, the whole family just thought, "Doug has gone crazy." And I think they liked it better when I was using drugs and living in the mountains and being a hippie. But when I became a Christian, I think maybe they were convicted by it. But you end up getting more.

And when you become a Christian, all of a sudden you get this family, this whole church, this household of mothers, and fathers, and brothers, and sisters that often are willing to share their houses and lands. And yeah, a lot of these people would take us home for dinner and share their homes.

But not everybody that Jesus followed accepted. We've got that sad story of the rich young ruler. You can look at Mark chapter 10, verse 21 and 22. This young man came to Jesus, he said, "Good master, what good thing should I do that I might have everlasting life?' And Jesus said, 'Why do you call Me good? None is good but one, and that is God. But if you would enter into life, keep the commandments.' He said, 'Which ones?'" And then Jesus began to recite the commandments on the second table of stone, talking about love for your fellow man. Said, "You know, honor your father and mother, do not kill, do not steal, do not commit adultery." And he said, "Oh, every Jewish boy had those memorized." He said, "Lord, all these I've kept from my youth up." Well, he thought he'd been keeping them. Jesus said, "Really?" Said, "Okay, do you want to follow Me? You want treasure in heaven? Here you go. Go sell everything you have, give it to the poor, follow Me, and you'll have treasure in heaven."

Oh, when he heard that, he suddenly, his whole expression changed. And you know, the Bible says if you read this in Mark chapter 10, Jesus, this is verse 21, "Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, 'One thing you lack.'" There's only one thing in making a total commitment. "Go your way, sell whatever you have, give to the poor. You'll have treasure in heaven. Take up your cross and follow Me." One thing is a complete surrender. When you surrender your heart, that one thing, God gets your refrigerator when He gets your heart. God gets your closet when He gets your heart. God gets your bank book when He gets your heart.

Now, sometimes we look at all the externals and think, "Oh, I've got to change this and this and this." And really what you need is a change of heart. That's the one thing. But his heart was set on his riches. And it says, "He went away grieved, for he had great possessions." Think about that. People think, "If I only had great possessions, I'd be happy." The Bible record is he walked away from Jesus with his great possessions, but grieved, unhappy. He didn't follow.

You know, there would be--we don't even know his name. You know, his name could be Stanley, and there could be a book in the Bible called the book--the gospel according to Stanley because Jesus asked him to follow just like the apostles, but he didn't. We hear about Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Andrew, Peter, and the others who walked away and they followed Jesus. But unfortunately, some say no. And you would hope he repented later, but there's no record of that.

So, then we look at people who they weren't even really looking for God. And God, He didn't just call them, He kind of really arrested their attention, and that would be like the case of the Apostle Paul. Look in Acts chapter 9, you can find when he had his road to Damascus experience here. "And as he journeyed, then he came near Damascus." He's on his way to Damascus to arrest men and women who had--these are Jews who had turned to Christ. He's harassing the church. And he confesses later in his testimony that he would imprison them and when they were executed, doesn't just say Steven, he says, "When they were executed," it happened many times, "I would bear witness against him." So, Paul basically was involved in rounding people up and having them either imprisoned, maybe tortured to give up their faith, or executed. And he's on his way to Damascus to continue this vicious attack on Christianity. He was rabid.

Paul was a fanatic about destroying Christianity. I think it's because he had been fighting his conscience about following Jesus. And in order to fight his conscience, he had to be even more passionate about persecuting. And while he's on his way, as he got over the hill and you could see Damascus down below, suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. It says brighter than the sun when he shares his testimony. And he fell to the ground. He could've been riding a horse. And he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" He knew it was a divine voice, so he said, "Lord." And he said, "I am Jesus who you are persecuting," the very one he'd been fighting to eradicate his followers. "I am Jesus who you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against a goad."

See, goad was a sharp stick that they often used when following oxen to drive them as they pull the cart or pull the plow. And sometimes, the oxen would kick the sharp stick and they would cut themselves. And Jesus is just saying, "You're just hurting yourself by fighting against your conscience." Says, "Is it hard for you to kick against the goads?" So, he trembling and astonished, he said, "Lord, what do you want me to do?"

Now, Jesus could've said, "Here's what I want you to do. I want you to go down into Damascus, and I want you to go up to the street, and I want you to knock on the door of the church, and I want you to baptize yourself." And He didn't do that. He said, "I am not going to tell you everything I want you to do because this is extraordinary for Me to talk to you personally. Usually, I speak to you through people."

It's rare when God speaks to us in person. It's even rare when He speaks to us through angels. Typically, God speaks to us, yes, through people. God said, "Go into the town and it will be told you what you must do." So, then you read a little later in Acts chapter 10 that God then appears to one of the disciples in Damascus whose name was Ananias. And he said, Ananias, "Here I am, Lord." He said, "I got a mission for you. I want you to go to Straight Street. There is someone staying in the house there, and his name is Saul, and I want you to baptize him because he's praying and I see him praying." He's repented of his sins." And Ananias is going, "Uh Lord, that's the hitman who's been sent to Damascus to arrest us. Why would I want to do that?" He said, "Don't worry about it, he's my chosen vessel. He's been converted. He's now on our side." Says, "Go down there and go, doubting nothing, for I have sent him."

And so, Ananias goes and he baptizes Paul. And you notice what God says to Ananias, He actually uses the word, He says, "Arise therefore, and go." And he says, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" Paul, God says to Paul, "Arise and go." He says to Ananias, "Arise therefore, and go." Now, does that sound familiar? God says to Jonah, Jonah chapter 1, first verses, "The Word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 'Arise and go.'" When Jesus ascended to heaven, He said, 'Go therefore.'"

So, here we are, friends, we've spent 13 months studying, a quarter of the year, studying our Sabbath school quarterly. Wasn't that fun? Well, what do we do about what we've studied? Is it just going to be head knowledge, or does it become heart knowledge until we put it into action?

You know what the Lord is saying to every one of us as I've shared these things with you. "Now arise and go." And if we do not arise and go, what happens? What happened to Jonah when he made no effort to share his faith with anybody? He didn't want to go tell the Ninevites. Says he ran the other way. And can you run from God? How did it work for Paul to run from God? Didn't work very well. God had to strike him down, struck him with blindness.

How did it work for Jonah to run from the call to share his faith? It didn't work very well. You know, he ended up in a storm, then he ended up in a whale at the bottom of the ocean. Then he ended up in Nineveh before it was over.

And you can read in Acts 9:26, going back to Paul, and it says, "When Saul came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were afraid of him, and they did not believe he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that he had spoken to him, how he had preached boldly in Damascus in the name of Jesus." They said there's evidence that Paul has been dramatically converted. He had already started to preach boldly. We talked about boldness a minute ago. "In the name of Jesus." And Acts chapter 13, verse 2 and 3, "As they ministered and fasted together, the Holy Spirit said, "'Now, separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work that I've called them to do.' And having fasted and prayed, they laid hands on them and sent them away."

This is talking about when somebody was, you know, ordained or commissioned for a special work. And this is a place where you see both Barnabas and Saul, who ends up becoming Paul, they're sent out to do missionary work. So, he goes from being, you know, an adversary to the church to being an advocate. He goes from being a menace to being a missionary. This is one of the most dramatic 180s that you see anywhere in history is what happened to the Apostle Paul. And so, then he set out, and Paul goes and he starts to share Christ. He walked away from his comfortable life as a Pharisee.

Read in Romans 1:1, now you look and you see this in Paul's letter several times. "Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God." He was separated. God says, "I have set you apart for a special mission." And this is something for each believer that we have. You look in Galatians chapter 1, verse 15, "But when it pleased God who separated me from my mother's womb," kind of like what Jeremiah said, "I've called you from your mother's womb." "He separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles to reveal His Son in me."

Now, what God did for Paul, is that just unique for Paul? He may not get your attention, friends, through lightning on the road to Damascus. He may not strike you down like that. You may not hear a voice like Jonah did, but every believer is separated by God for the purpose of showing forth the Son in their lives. This is what he said. "To reveal His Son in me." God wants to reveal His Son in you, that's what a Christian is. You've sung that song before, "Live out thy life within me, oh Jesus King of kings." "That I might preach Him among the Gentiles, and I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood." He says, "The Holy Spirit called me." 2 Timothy 1, verse 11: "To which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles."

Paul was given a special work, he was separated from the Pharisees for the Gentiles. It's kind of interesting that Peter also, he was called to do a special work among the Gentiles, he was called from the fishermen to reach the Gentiles. And you can read in Acts chapter 28, verse 28, "'And therefore let it be known to you that salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it.' And when He said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves. And Paul dwelt there," speaking of in Rome, "two whole years." And he said he was in a rented house, "And he received all who came with him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him."

This was one of the most productive times for Paul when he was a prisoner, think about that. The Roman guard, he's a prisoner, he's kind of under house arrest, he's got a rented home. People come and go to see him. They bring him food, and he's able to give Bible studies and do work, and he kind of does it as a slave or as a prisoner. Sort of a picture of each of us. Said, "Look, I am a slave of God. I am a prisoner of God. And I'm going to be doing His work." And so, we're willing, willing to be servants. And you can read in 2 Timothy 4, verse 5 through 8, these were some of the last words that Paul wrote, "But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

What was topmost in Paul's mind talking to Timothy? Sharing the gospel, doing the work of an evangelist. "Fulfill your ministry, for I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge will give to me on that day. And not to me only, but to all who have loved His appearing."

You know, that's one thing about Seventh-day Adventists, it's not that we just believe that Jesus is coming again. Many Christians believe He's coming again. It says we--for those who look for His coming. The Bible calls it the blessed hope. And Paul says all those who love His appearing. Adventists, the people in the last generation of all people, should love His appearing. Don't ever be apologetic about being an Adventist and talking about the Advent or the Second Coming, because especially the people who live when the Lord is at the door ought to be excited about the imminence of Jesus coming, amen? I think I heard an echo out there online somewhere, said amen.

And then the demands of love. 2 Corinthians 5:14: "For the love of Christ compels us because we judge thus that if one died for all, then all died." Because He died for us, we die to self, and we're willing to go out there and share the gospel. And in 1 Corinthians 9:16, "Yes, woe to me if I preach not the gospel." He felt the message all pent up within him. I read this in Jeremiah this week, he says, "I cannot restrain it. I cannot hold back. I must share the Word of the Lord." 1 Corinthians 13, verse 4: "Love suffers long, it is kind. It does not envy, it does not parade itself, it is not puffed up. And so, we are to be meek and humble in the way that we share, but we want to share." Matthew 10, verse 37, and I read this a little earlier, "He that loves father and mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. He who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me."

A service of God and following Jesus needs to have the priority. And then, you know, when you get to the end here and you read in John chapter 21, Jesus helps us identify that love must be the spring of action. He's talking to Peter. And Peter we know had denied Jesus three times publicly. And He, Christ, you know, was reminding Peter, "You said in front of the disciples at the Last Supper, 'Though all of these should forsake thee, I will never forsake thee.'"

And so, because of that, it says, "When they had eaten breakfast," John 21:15, "Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?'" It's interesting, he emphasizes son of Jonah because Jonah ran from proclaiming the Lord. "Do you love Me more than these?" He said, "Yes, Lord, you know I love you." He would not compare himself with the apostle, he said, "You know I love You." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Then He said to him again a second time, "Simon son of Jonah, do you love Me?" And he said, "Lord, You know I love You." And He said to him, "Tend My sheep." Verse 17, He said the third time, "Simon son of Jonah, do you love Me?"

Peter was grieved because he said it the third time. Said, "Are You doubting my answer?" "Do you love Me?" He said, "Lord, You know all things. You know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep. So, assuredly I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself, you walked where you wish. But when you're old, you will stretch forth your hands and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish." This He spoke signifying by what death He would glorify God. And when He spoke these things, He said, "Follow Me."

So, those are the words that Jesus said to Peter in the beginning, "Follow Me and I will make you a fisher of men." Oh, there is that night when Peter denied the Lord. And Jesus said, "Follow Me," and He gave him another chance to profess his love and to follow Him.

And then finally, you've got love's commitment. Look in the 1 chapter of Revelation verse 9. "I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation in the kingdom and the patience of Jesus, was on the island that is called Patmos." He says, "I was a prisoner for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ." They were not afraid to suffer for Christ.

And you can read again in Acts 9:16, God said that he told Paul, "I will show Him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake." And then John, 1 John 3, verse 16 and 18, "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also want to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world's goods and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." Now, Jesus said, "If you know these things, you're happy if you do them."

Friends, I hope that we can put this into practice. Want to thank you for joining us in our study today, and we're looking forward to studying our new quarterly on education in the quarter to come. Don't forget about the free offer, we'll send it to you. You can either text or call, or ask for "12 Steps to Revival." And just call 866-STUDY-MORE and this will be yours. Well, and of course, you can download this book by going to amazingfacts.org. God bless you, friends, we're out of time for today's study. Lord willing, we'll do it again next week.

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

Doug: What can be more irresistible than a kitten? These guys might look cute now, but some of their ancestors have grown into man eaters. [roaring] We're here in a lion park in South Africa now, where we can view these creatures in relative safety, but there's a reason they're known as the king of beasts.

So, what is it that people find so enchanting and frightening about lions? Is it their speed, their claws, their sharp teeth, or all of the above? Might also be some of the stories about man-eating lions, like in 1898 right here in Africa, they were building a bridge over the Tsavo River in Kenya, and two brother lions terrorized the construction process, eating 135 workers.

Did you know lions are mentioned in the Bible over 100 times? And you can find them all the way from Genesis to Revelation. It's usually in reference to their ferocity and how dangerous they are. Of course, Samson killed a lion with his bare hands. David killed a lion. There are man eating lions in the Bible. The way that they punished criminals was by throwing them in the lion's den. And early Christians were even fed to lions.

But amazingly, as the Bible mentions, not all lions are to be feared. There have been a few friendly lions in history. For example, in the 1950s, a couple, Georges and Margaret Westbeau, who lived up at a ranch near Seattle, Washington, adopted an abandoned lion cub. They named it Little Tyke because they felt sorry for it. But they discovered as they tried to feed her, she refused to eat any meat at all. They were concerned, thinking there was no hope for this little lioness to survive, and everybody told them the same because we know in the wild, lions survive on almost entirely meat diet.

Then someone showed the Westbeau that verse in the Bible that talks about in heaven, the animals are vegetarians, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. That encouraged them, and so they began to feed Little Tyke a purely vegetarian diet. Not only did she survive, she thrived, growing into a lion that was over 352 pounds and over 10 feet long. In fact, zoologists that examined Little Tyke when she was full grown said they have never seen such perfect specimen of a lioness in their life, a pure vegetarian.

You know, when we hear incredible stories about that of Little Tyke, it reminds us that God's original plan was to make a world of total peace. It describes it here in the Bible in Isaiah chapter 11, verse 6, "The wolf also will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together. And a little child will lead them." Nothing is going to hurt and destroy in the new heavens and the new earth that God is going to create.

Wouldn't you like to live in a kingdom where there's perfect peace, where there's no more death or killing or pain? God says that He wants you in that kingdom. The Lamb of God made it possible for you to have an encounter with the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Wouldn't you like to meet Him today?

Announcer: Amazing Facts, changed lives.

Diamond Garcia: Hi, my name is Diamond Garcia, and I am from the beautiful islands of Hawaii. I was raised in a very dysfunctional family, like most families. Being in that environment, I would lie, cheat, steal, rob houses, cheat in school and tests, and lie to teachers, and getting into fights, and all kinds of stuff. One day, I was asked to take this little box of something, and I had to walk down the road and give it to someone, and they would give me money and I'd walk back home. And I later realized I was dealing drugs.

Growing up in that environment, I thought that, you know, being an adult was a life of drinking and smoking and partying, and that's just adults did. When I looked at my family and saw the road that they were going down, getting arrested, getting beaten up, coming home drunk and puking all over the floor, I just didn't want that for myself.

Growing up, I had a grandma who was baptized as a Christian in her 20s, but then she wasn't a real practicing Christian. And so, one day, I was at her house, and there was a box of various books. And I went to the bottom of that box and found a book called "The Great Controversy." And I picked it up and I said, "This is interesting." And I opened to the first page of that book and it said, "If thou hadst known." I had no clue what it meant, and so I said, "You know what? Forget this." I put the book down, I just walked away, did my thing.

But then something told me, "You know, Diamond, go back to that book." And so, I went back to the book, picked it up, went to the last two chapters, and I read it. And I said to my grandmother, I said, "What church is this from? I want to go to that church." So, she brought me down to the local church, and then I walk in from the backdoor. And the piano's off-key, people are off-key, it's like, "Man, this is really kind of--I don't want to be here." And I got to the front of the church, and I sat down, I was listening to the sermon and the whole service, it was so boring to me.

But then someone gives me this set of DVDs and it was called "The Prophecy Code." It was through watching Doug Batchelor explain the truths found in the Bible that really brought me to Christ and brought me to realize that, you know what? There is a life better than my family's life.

My second week at church on Sabbath, there was one person there, he basically told me, "Hey Diamond, do you want to make some money?" And I said, "Sure." I said, "What do you do?" He says, "Well, I'm a colporteur. We go door to door and we sell Christian books." I said, "Oh, okay. Well, that sounds interesting. I do want to make some money, too." And so he said, "Okay, well, why don't you come with me?"

We drove out to the neighborhood, parked the car, and that night was just raining, it was pouring and pouring, it could not stop raining. He prayed, he said, "God, this is Diamond's first night. If it's Your will, stop the rain so we can go knocking on doors." And as soon as he said amen, the rain just stopped. I was just thinking in my head, "Is this guy a prophet or what? I mean, he just prayed and asked God and it happened." And so I was so--I was so happy, I grabbed the books and I went to the first door. And the first door I went to, the person gave me 50 bucks.

That night was actually a big night for me because it was where I saw God's power work in stopping the rain and people actually giving me lots of money. I then became a colporteur or a canvasser, and I save money to pay for my way through academy. And when my church began to see how God was using me, they immediately recognized that it was God's Spirit moving and they put me, you know, preaching, and teaching, and sharing my faith. And I've been engaged in ministry for the past six to seven years now, and God has taken me all over the world on multiple continents, sharing my testimony, how God has brought me out of darkness into his marvelous light. It's a total contrast as to how I was before. And now, you know, it's a total contrast.

My name is Diamond, and Amazing Facts has helped to change my life.

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