Covenant Faith

Covenant Faith

Scripture: Galatians 3:11
Date: 06/19/2021  Lesson: 12
Why must salvation be a gift? Why could only Someone equal with God ransom our souls? How can we make the promises and hope found in the Cross our own?

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God Drew the Plans - Paper or Digital Download
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Shawn Brummund: Hello, friends, and welcome back to another edition of the "Sabbath School Study Hour." It is always good for us to be able to gather together here in the Granite Bay Hilltop Seventh-day Adventist Church, right here in the Greater Sacramento area of California. It is always good to be able to have our local church members with us here this morning as we come together to worship, as we come together to open up God's Bible that we might be able to sit at the feet of Jesus and continue to learn and continue to have Him mold our minds, our world view, and the way that we live our lives. And so we trust and know that you will be blessed as you invest over the next hour as we study through our lesson number 12.

And so this morning we are looking at lesson number 12 in the Quarterly that I know many of us have been blessed by, and it's entitled "The Promise: God's Everlasting Covenant." And as it turns out, this is our second last study for this particular theme and quarter. And so I know we're going to be blessed today and next week but then next--the day--the week after next week we are going to be looking at another Quarterly and another theme.

By the way, how many have been blessed by this so far? Yeah, I see a number of hands, amens, that are going up. I know that there's some very rich stuff that we continue to look at. We're kind of continuing on a similar theme and the next Quarterly is going to be entitled, "Rest in Christ." "Rest in Christ." And that word "rest" is used a number of times, particularly in the book of Hebrews, but we also find it in other--a number of other places in the Bible as well. And so I know that you're going to be blessed by that as well.

Just an interesting little trivia for us. The authors of this particular new Quarterly that we'll start to look at in just two weeks' time, is actually authored by Pastor Jean Ross's sister and brother-in-law and so we have kind of--it's going to be in the family, for those of us here in Granite Bay because, of course, many of us know and love Pastor Jean and his family very much. So we look forward to that. Don't forget to take advantage of our free gift offer that we have here today--pardon me-- which is "God Drew the Plans." "God Drew the Plans." This is one of my favorite Study Guides that we have amongst a number of "Amazing Facts" Study Guides in a series and this is free offer number 129. And so if you've never studied the Study Guide, please take advantage of that even here today. You just dial 1-866-788-3966 and ask for offer number 129.

Now, we also live in a digital age. If you're interested in being able to access this digitally and you live in continental North America, then you can certainly also find the link by texting "SH135," and you want to dial 40544 to be able to take advantage of that digital download and offer.

I want to invite you to join me as we pray. Father in heaven, this morning we are thankful for the opportunity to be able to open Your Word. We want to claim the promise that You have promised since You first were on this earth and left the church to be able to continue to grow, that You would send the Holy Spirit. And that the Holy Spirit would guide us and lead us into all truth, open our eyes, and give us discernment and understanding in the things that are spiritual in Your Word. And so, God, we want to pray that You will bless us with that Spirit. Give us Your presence, Lord. Please bless our pastor and teacher, Pastor Doug, here today as he brings the Word of life to us. God, we want to pray that You will take it and write it into our hearts, each and every word from Your Bible. In Jesus's name we pray these things, God, amen.

Doug Batchelor: I enjoyed listening to our young people sing, how about you? That's always nice. Welcome, friends, those of you who are here alive in the Granite Bay Hilltop Church. We're glad to welcome you to our Sabbath School program and we know that we've got a lot of other people who are watching on a variety of outlets, everything from "Amazing Facts Television" to 3ABN, Hope, Facebook, YouTube, and it's just wonderful to hear the reports of people studying the Word of God together with us from around the world.

We've got a lot of folks out there that are some of our online members because they live in a part of the country or the world where there is no local church they can attend and they're just very thankful that they can be at least one of our online members. And if you're out there in that category and you have no local church that you can attend, you want to know, "How can I become an online member?" Just go ahead and contact us at granitebaysda.org and we'll talk to you about that. You can do, you know, Sabbath School and church with us. We just can't download a pot luck yet, but we're working on it. We can't--we can send you a virtual hug.

All right, our lesson today is lesson 12. As Pastor Shawn mentioned, we have one more in this series on the covenant. This is called "Covenant Faith," and we have a memory verse. The memory verse is from Galatians 3:11. If you've got your Bible or your lesson open, you can read that with me. Galatians 3:11. You ready? "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, is evident: for, the just shall live by faith." One of the most famous verses in the Bible.

Now, when we're talking about the covenant, it's not a bad idea to do a little review, you know, I think it's a shame to assume everybody listening has already heard all the background and then you miss some of the important points. When you say the word "covenant," covenant comes from the word, it's actually--it comes from an English word that comes from a French word that comes from a Latin word. I did a little etymology on the word "covenant." When you ever say "con" it means with in Latin, and it's "convenire." It means with agreement, and that, you know, then went to French and then went to English until it just came out anglicized as covenant. But it means it's an agreement. And a definition for covenant would be it's usually a formal, solemn, and binding agreement or compact. A written agreement or a promise usually under seal between two or more parties, might be notarized, especially for the performance of some action, is a formal agreement.

Now God saves us under a legal agreement. Why does it need to be a legal agreement? Because there's law involved. We have broken a law. And so He makes--God is not only a loving Father, He's not only our Savior, He's not only a King, He's a Judge. And so the agreement to save us is a legal agreement where He has a right to do it because there is a debt that is paid.

There is a penalty for sin and what are the wages for sin? Death. And how many have sinned? All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And so God has devised a way in the plan of salvation where He will save us but there are terms to the agreement. So this is the covenant. Now, when we talk about covenants in the Bible, scholars speculate there are really seven major covenants in the Bible. There's a lot of minor ones. Any agreement in the Bible, someone says, you know, "You sow my seed and I'll pay you for doing it."

Well, that's technically an agreement, but the major covenants in the Bible are what are called the Edenic Covenant, which you would find in Genesis chapter 3. It's the covenant that God makes in the Garden of Eden between the woman and the seed of the woman and it's the redemption of man where the sacrificial system is established. You have the Noahic Covenant. You remember after the flood, God made a covenant with Noah that He would no longer destroy the earth and that He would bless him.

Then you have the Abrahamic Covenant. We're going to talk a lot about that in the lesson today, so that's three so far. Then you've got the Mosaic Covenant and that's the covenant, well, in the Ten Commandments you find, says, "I gave them My covenant which I commanded them to perform." This is actually Deuteronomy chapter 4, Ten Commandments, but--so there's the covenant there that He made in Exodus. You've got the covenant you find in Levi that He made with the sons of Aaron that they would be His priests, the Priestly Covenant. Then you have the Davidic Covenant where God said that through the house of the seat of David the Messiah would come. And then, of course, in the New Testament Jesus with His blood ratifies the New Testament or the Gospel Covenant.

Now where do you first find the new covenant? In the Old Testament. Kind of a trick question. Who is the oldest man who ever lived? Methuselah--I heard someone got it, they said Enoch. It's a trick question. Methuselah is the oldest man who ever died. The oldest man who ever lived is Enoch; his father is still alive, right? He's not died yet. So the new covenant is found in Jeremiah. You find it in the Old Testament. And you also find it alluded to in Ezekiel where He said "A new heart I will put within you." And so those are the main covenants or agreements that God has made. Does God ever make an agreement or a covenant and then fail to fulfill? "Not a word of the Lord falls to the ground. What I have said I will do." Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away; My word will not pass away."

Have you made agreements or covenants with people in the past and they fell through? Maybe you fell through. I think back with some chagrin on a couple of promises I made and I didn't keep and it's too late now. And I always feel some guilt for that because you want to keep your covenants. People don't always keep their agreements, but God's Word never fails. So if God makes a salvation covenant with us, if we embrace the terms of the covenant, will He keep His part? Isn't that right? He will.

All right, well, under "Sunday," the first section, it's "Reflections of Calvary." Why was it necessary for Jesus to die to redeem us? Now, some people say, "Well, Jesus died because covenants were often sealed with a sacrifice." Oh, no, that's true but there's much more than that. You know, sometimes people in the old days, they cut their wrists and two people would shake hands and they were called blood brothers. It was like an agreement made in blood. Well, the sacrifice of Christ is more than that. There is a debt that is being paid and the reason that Jesus, the Son of God, had to die is only the Creator had the right to pay the debt for the Creation.

Now this is so important to understand because I know there are people out there in the world that question whether Jesus was everlasting. They say, "Well, no, He at one time was begotten." I say, "What, you mean He was created?" "No, not created; begotten," they say, "that's different." And I say, "No, you're saying that He was not in existence and the Father brought Him into existence. That's a creation." Doesn't matter how you play with the semantics. He went from non-existence to existence. That means He's created. But the Bible says: "All things that were created were created by Him." Isn't that right? So He didn't create Himself. And so only Jesus the Creator could die for the Creation.

Only the King could die for the subjects, and only the law giver could die for the law breakers. An angel could not have done it. It was only God Himself that could do it and that should tell you something about the magnitude of sin that the sin of one person to be saved would require the death of the Creator to fulfill the penalty. It should also tell you something about the magnitude of God's love for you. He didn't have to do it. You could pay your own penalty. And by the way, many will. Because they don't accept the salvation Jesus has offered for them, they when--ultimately pay the penalty for their sins. So Jesus is the only one who can do that.

Is there a different covenant of salvation in the New Testament and the Old Testament? Yes, the Bible talks about the new covenant and the old covenant. Were people in the Old Testament saved differently than people in the New Testament? Not really. Now, this is so important.

Are you saved by faith in the new covenant? Yeah, but you're saved by works in the old covenant? Nobody's saved by works. See, this is--I've met in a lot of dear Christians from the dispensational tribe, and they say, "Well, the Old Testament, they had to be saved by works," as though they could work their way into heaven. That would insinuate that there were some in the Old Testament who successfully worked their way to heaven. Isn't that right? But no one is going to be in heaven by works. The Bible says: "Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness." He was given credit for righteousness based on his faith.

Everybody in the Old Testament was saved by faith, looking forward to the cross. Everybody in the New Testament and now, we are saved by faith, looking back to the cross. Everybody is saved by faith in the cross. There will even be some people in heaven that are there that maybe didn't know the name of Jesus but everyone is saved by Jesus's name and everyone is saved by Christ's sacrifice. And some of these people are going to be in heaven because they had faith in God. They maybe didn't know a lot about God but God winked at their ignorance and-- because He's a merciful God. So everyone saved is saved by Christ or saved by faith. Nobody is saved by works.

Now I've heard evangelists, and I've used it myself, use an illustration that talks about salvation like a person crossing a river and they've got two oars. And they've got one oar called faith and they've got one oar called works. And if you use only faith, the boat goes in circles, and if you use only works, the boat goes in circles. But if you want to get across the river, you use both. That's really a flawed illustration because it leaves you with the impression that works contribute to your salvation.

It is true in the Christian life that if you have saving faith you will have works. So you will see both in the Christian life. But we are saved by faith. The thief who was on the cross that is saved, was he saved by his works in any way? Well, there's one work he did. You know what that one work is? He asked. Jesus said, "This is the work that you shall do: to believe on the One the Father has sent."

So you--if you want to call believing and asking a work, then you--there's something you must do. You must reach out. You must ask. And he did that. But he didn't do a lot of charitable deeds, he did not do a lot of sacrificial mission projects. He just accepted Jesus, turned to Jesus, asked for mercy, and he was saved by faith in Christ. So the good news is that means everybody here today and all those who are watching, you can be saved right now by turning to Christ in faith. So that's the beautiful news of that.

Now, there's a good quote in your lesson and it's from the "Testimonies to the Church, Volume 2," page 213. "The scenes of Calvary call for the deepest emotion. Upon this subject, you will be excusable if you manifest enthusiasm." In other words, some people say, "They're getting too excited in church." Here she says, "When it's talking about the sacrifice of Christ for us, you'll be excused if you get too excited, if you get too emotional, because it--the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf is the story that should call forth the deepest emotion." "That Christ so excellent, so innocent, should suffer such painful death, bearing the weight of the sins of the world, our thoughts and imaginations can never fully comprehend. The length, the breadth, the height, the depth of such amazing love we cannot fathom. The contemplation of the matchless depths of the Savior's love should fill the mind, touch and melt the soul, refine and elevate the affections, and completely transform the whole character."

One of my personal prayers lately has been that I might love the Lord more because the longer I've lived, the more I realize that the essence of everything I need in a Christian and sanctification boils down to loving God more. I don't serve God very well because I don't love Him very much. Now, I love Him, but I don't think I love Him like I should. I think if I loved Him more I'd love you more. And vice versa, by the way. I think the more that we love God, the better we serve Him; the more we love God, the more we love each other; the more we love God, the more joyful we are, the better advertising agents we are for Christianity.

All of our problems would be solved if we loved Jesus more. So where do you get more love for God? Bible says: "We love Him because He first loved us." As we look at the place where His love is demonstrated and we see His love for us, love begets love. Isn't that right? And as we see Him on the cross and we see His life of love and His mercy and His forgiveness, it should stir our hearts and it transforms us.

I've heard a number of illustrations that bear this out but I remember one in particular where years ago this lady was married to a scoundrel that had a drinking problem, and every night he was down at the saloon with his buddies, and he'd come stumbling home late at night and sometimes he'd, you know, bring his friends over and his wife was a Christian and she was so patient, she was so loving. She had no idea that he would develop this problem when they first married, and it became a real challenge. But she decided to live out the love of Christ, no matter how he acted. And one day he was at the saloon. He was bragging to his friends, he says, "I've got the best wife in the world." One of them said, "I got the best wife in the world." And this guy said, "No, you guys have nothing." He says, "I want you to come over to my house right now." And he brought three or four of his half-drunken friends over to his house, and his wife greeted them, and he said, "Honey, can you get us something to eat?" And she went in the kitchen, started cooking.

Well, it's like, one in the morning, and she began to bring out the food and they took a few bites and stabbed it a little bit and they said, "Yeah, Zeb, your wife is the nicest wife in the world." Said, "Who else would put up with this bad behavior?" They all kind of slunk out. And he came over--she came over to her husband and he was alone at the table now. His friends had all left and he was crying. And she put her arm around him and said, "What's the matter, dear?" He said, "Why are you so good to me? I don't understand why you're so good to me." And she said, "Well, God is so good to me and because God loves me so much and He's forgiven me so much, that's how I love you." And she said, "By the way," she says, "when I die, I've got eternal life." She said, "You don't. The only happiness you're ever going to have is what you have in this life. So I'm just trying to make you as happy as you can be." And he was so brokenhearted by her response that he became a Christian.

Her love transformed him. And it works both ways. And so, as we look at the love of God, that's where the power is. Romans 5:8: "But God demonstrated His own love towards us in that while we were still sinners," Jesus didn't die for us after we were beautiful loving Christians. He died for us while we were mean, ornery sinners. He died for people that were cursing His name because He still loved them. So "Monday" section, "The Covenant in the Sacrifice." Let's look here. There's a verse, 1 Peter. 1 Peter 1:18-19: "And knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold,"

It's interesting that he says corruptible because silver and gold don't corrupt very quickly. They last pretty long, but compared to eternity they're corruptible. "You were redeemed not with corruptible things, like silver or gold from your aimless conduct received by the tradition of your fathers," sometimes people would--they pay some money for forgiveness, you know, some religions teach that you can pay for an indulgence or you can make an offering to cover your sin, but Peter said, "No, you were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot."

So in the Bible, there was an ancient practice of an indentured slave, one of the ways they could be freed is if they somehow had the money or if a friend would pay their master the amount owed to free them from their slavery. And this, of course, is what the Lord did for the children of Israel. He came and He interceded and He saved a nation from slavery. There was, like, a redemption price that was paid.

Some of you have read the beautiful story in the book of Ruth. You know, the book of Ruth is a love story but the book of Ruth is a story of redemption. It begins with this family of-- is it Elimelech and his sons, Milcon and Malcon? And they all die. They go to Moab and they all die during the famine because they're absent. Someone else buys their land and after years, Naomi comes home with Ruth but now she's lost her land and the only one that has the right to get the land back is a near kinsman who can redeem the land by marrying Ruth. It's an interesting story, but he basically pays the dowry. He marries Ruth and he marries back into the family line. And so the whole story is a love story and it's also a story of redemption.

Well, this, of course, is an allegory of Jesus paying the redemption for our sins. The price of our sins is death and Jesus said, "I will redeem you from the law, the curse of the law." Everyone who is saved is saved from the curse of the law. What's the curse of the law? Is the law a cursed thing? Not killing, not stealing? Is that cursed? No, the curse of the law is the penalty. God saves us, He redeems us from the penalty of death, which is the curse of the law.

Some people think that we're saved from the curse of the law and that means we don't have to keep the law. Doesn't mean that, it means you're saved from the curse of the death penalty of the law. And so Jesus does this for us. If you look here in 1 John 5, verse 11 through 13: "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that has the law--Son has life; he that does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I've written to you that believe in the name of the Son of God, that you might know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God."

This is a powerful verse because how many of you would like to know--how much better would your day be if you knew you had eternal life? If you never had to wonder. Now that doesn't mean you go round bragging once you're saved you can't be lost. It means you've got a sweet confidence that you are abiding in Christ and you are saved. It's healthy for every believer to examine himself every now and then, but God doesn't want us always second-guessing our salvation because where could you have happiness as a Christian if you're always in doubt whether or not you're saved? Doesn't the joy come from what is righteousness by faith? It's having faith that you're saved. And so this is very clear in John that, you know, you just are living life that you have confidence that He that began a good work in you will finish it.

I think Christians would look a whole lot more happy, a whole lot happier, if we believed that we had eternal life. So where does that come from? Says, "Believing in the name of the Son of God, that you might know you have eternal life, that you might continue to believe in the name." This is one of the most misunderstood phrases. How many of you have maybe seen on TV or heard on the radio where some pastor is chanting the name of Jesus and claiming the name of Jesus and proclaiming the name of Jesus and saying, "In the name of Jesus"?

Now, there's power in the name of Jesus but I think it's one of the most misunderstood statements. The name of Jesus is not an abracadabra special word that you pronounce that sends the devil running. And the reason you've got to know that is I know some people that say, "If you pronounce the name of Jesus wrong, it doesn't work." And you've probably met people that have said, "You must also pronounce His name in the original Hebrew." Now, in English we would say Jesus's name is Joshua. In Hebrew you would say, "Yeshua."

Do you really think God up in heaven is looking down and when, at the end of your prayer, you say, "In Jesus's name," He said, "Not hearing that prayer, you said it wrong"? Well, that's really where this goes if you start believing that. That--so what does it mean when it says, "In the name of"? In the Bible, "in the name of" is talking about to believe in a person's name is to believe in them. The name denotes the person and their teachings. And He talks about those who are baptized in Moses. That's 1 Corinthians 10. What does it mean? It means they believed in the teachings of Moses, they followed Moses through the Red Sea, they were baptized in the sea through following and believing in the leadership of Moses. So when you are believing in the name of Jesus, it's much more than the mention of His name. It means the teachings of Jesus. Those who believe in His name, Jesus says, "Go baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

So when we have baptisms, as we will today, praise the Lord. So when we have baptisms and they say, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, if you say the name wrong, is the baptism canceled? I was at a baptism one time and a friend of mine, who is a pastor, was baptizing a member who was from Mexico. English was his second language and the pastor wanted to honor that and so he learned how to say it, the proclamation, in Spanish, which is something to the effect of, "I baptize you--" [speaking foreign language] I'm sure I messed that up. It's something like that. Well, he got flustered and instead of saying, "In the name of the Padre," he said "in the name of the Papa." Well, Papa is either potato or Pope in Spanish, and neither one of those was right.

So here's the question. Afterward, when he realized that he had messed up, did the guy need to go get rebaptized? Or did God and the angels smile and say, "We knew that you believed you were being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit"?

Do you know, if a pastor during a wedding-- a wedding's a covenant, you know that? A wedding is a holy covenant. And in a wedding, when the pastor says, "Do you," you know, "Bill, take you, Jane," and, ha, I don't know if I dare tell you this. I mean, wherever your level of respect is before now, it's not going to go up any higher, I know, if I tell you this, but I don't know if it could go any lower so I'll take a risk. You know, when I do weddings, I write in the name of the husband and wife so I don't mess it up. And then--I do a lot of weddings. I don't--I hope you won't disrespect me, but I try to tailor them all where they're a little bit unique but they're not all completely 100% new. So sometimes, I recycle them, say, you know, this is a whole different audience, they've not heard this wedding sermon before and it's a good sermon, I want to use it again. Is that okay? Does that make sense?

So I'm doing this wedding and I forget to change the names. [laughing] Do I need to say any more? So while I'm doing the wedding, I got--I think I changed the girl's name but I forgot to change the guy's name. And when I said the name, he went, "Norman?" Well, they all got a laugh out of it, and I, of course, turned bright red. But they were still married at the end of the day. So--and I did get his name right before it was all over. So the thing to really emphasize though is it's the covenant. It's the covenant, it's the teachings of the individual being baptized in the name.

All right, under "Tuesday's" section, "The Faith of Abraham, Part 1." Genesis 15, verse 6. And this is that famous verse that we've quoted already from our memory verse: "And he believed in the Lord," now this is where God promised Abraham that in spite of the fact he had no children, "Your descendants are going to be in multitude like the stars of heaven and like the sand by the seashore," and even though Abraham is old and he has no children, he said, "Lord, nothing's too hard for You; I believe You." And because of Abraham's faith, God counted it to him for righteousness.

And, you know, Jesus often said, "Be it unto you according to your faith." Faith is one of the single most important components, if not the most important component in salvation. I just typed up a few references here to try to accentuate this. 2 Samuel 22:31: "As for God, His way is perfect. The Word of the Lord is proven. He is a shield to all who trust in Him." God is a shield for those who have faith in Him.

Psalm 9, verse 10: "And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You have not forsaken those who seek You." Psalm 147, verse 11: "The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him and those who hope in His mercy," and trusting in His mercy. Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." It's a great verse for young people getting out of college.

Proverbs 29:25: "The fear of man brings a snare but whoever trusts in the Lord will be safe." Isaiah 26, verse 3: "You will keep him in perfect peace." Who wants that? "Whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You." So there again, should a believer have faith? Based on what? They trust in the Lord. Jeremiah 17:7: "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and those who hope in God." Jesus, when He healed people, He turned around. He said to the woman, "Be of good cheer, daughter. Your faith has made you well." In Matthew 21:21, Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you've got faith and do not doubt, you'll not only do what was done to the fig tree, but you'll say to this mountain, 'Be removed and it will be cast into the sea," and it will be done.'"

Over and over through the Bible, God talks about the importance of faith. "Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." So Abraham is--God is so pleased with Abraham because he believes what evidently is impossible and God says, "Look, if you believe, I will honor your faith." I don't want to overplay this story but you're sitting in a building a lot of--there's a lot of faith that went into this. I mean, doing what many said was impossible, you know, many times I felt it was impossible. But I thought, "Lord, I believe if You've put this on my heart and the hearts of others, that You will bring it to pass." And God never fails, does He? So, believe.

Now, going back to Abraham. Romans 4, verse 2 through 5: "For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him," that means it's credited to him, "as righteousness. Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as a grace but a debt." If I go work for you all week long and at the end of the week you say, "Okay, I've got a gift for you," and you hand me my paycheck, I'll say, "No, sirree, this is not a gift. You owe it. It is a debt you owe me," right? So, it can't be a debt.

"But to him who does not work but believes on Him who," it doesn't mean you don't do good works. It means, "But him who doesn't trust in his works, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness." "For the wages of sin are death," Romans 6:23, "but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." So it's a gift.

Now, going--look at back at Romans 4:20: "Abraham," it's saying, "did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but he was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He," God, "had promised He was able to perform. And therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness."

Okay, that's such a great verse. Think about this for a second. What God had promised He's able to perform. What promises has God made to you? Did God promise that if you come to Me I will in no wise let you go? Is He able to perform that? If you believe. Did Jesus promise that He has suffered enough to cover all the sins you ever committed or will commit? He did. Do you believe that? And so you start going through the promises that God has made connected with your salvation and it says God is pleased if you believe He can finish the work that He started in your life.

This is why faith is so crucial to just your peace. Galatians 3, verse 6 through 9. This is a often-referenced verse: "Just as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness; therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, 'In you all the nations,'" not just the Jews, "'but in you all the nations will be blessed.' So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham."

All the promises that God made to Israel belong to you if you believe, that's what He's saying. All that He promised for Abraham is ours. Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. He was called the friend of God. And you see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. So it's interesting that James is saying God--that Abraham showed his faith in God when he offered Isaac.

Now, why did he do that? You remember, God said, "Through your seed all the world's going to be blessed," and then God says, "Okay, I've given you that son. It's going to be through Sarah's son, not Ishmael. Through Sarah's son, Isaac, all the world's going to be blessed, all the nations are going to be blessed. Okay, Abraham, let's see if you really believe Me. Take him and kill him. Offer him for a sacrifice."

Does Abraham obey? He goes to the point of just about bringing down the knife. God knew that he was ready to go all the way through with it. Why could he do that? The key is found in Hebrews 11, verse 17: "By faith when tested, Abraham offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promise offered up his only begotten son," notice it doesn't talk about Ishmael, "of whom it is said, in Isaac your seed shall be called." Why did he do that?" "Concluding," verse 19, "God was able to raise him, even from the dead, and which he also received him in a figure."

It looked like Isaac was dead and he sort of was raised up by the angel, just as Jesus was dead and an angel opened the prison door so it's a figure of that. But Abraham said, "God, You promised through Isaac You're going to make me a great nation. I don't know how You're going to do it but I believe, even if I kill him, You can raise him up."

Now, there had not been a lot of resurrections in the Bible at the time Abraham did that. Can you name one? Elijah's resurrecting the boy, Elisha resurrecting a boy, Elisha's bones resurrecting a man. All that came after Abraham. So how much faith did it take Abraham to believe that God could actually raise Isaac up? They'd never seen that. So that's why he believed in that. And then Genesis 26, verse 4 and 5: "And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed; because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."

Notice the connection between believing and how does Abraham show his belief? He "obeyed My voice, kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws." I've got to throw that in for those who think you just believe and live like the world. The way that you show your belief, "whosoever believeth in Jesus shall not perish."

What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Believe in the name and the teachings of Jesus, and that means following Him. Okay, "Faith of Abraham, Part 2." If you look again at Genesis 15:6, we can see that various translations reckon the term "that's counted," means accounted it to him as righteousness, it's from the Hebrew-- [speaking foreign language] or reckoned or credited or accounted. You find similar examples of that in, like, Genesis 15--or Genesis 31:15, the daughters of Laban said, "Are we not counted as strangers by him? For he has sold us, and also completely consumed our money."

They're looking--Laban looked upon his daughters as strangers, instead of as his daughters. Well, God looks upon us as sons, it's the same word, because of faith in Christ. Leviticus 7:18: "And if the flesh of the sacrifice, the peace offering is eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted," it'll not be counted, "it will not be imputed to him," because that was supposed to be unclean after that three days, the time of Christ in the tomb. Anything beyond that was considered rotten or unclean, and they got no credit for that. It had to still be pure. So using that same word, God is saying, "I'm giving you credit, I'm looking upon you as my own son."

When you accept the faith and the blood of Jesus in your behalf, God looks upon you as thought you have the same righteousness as His Son. It's counted to you as righteousness.

So all right, let's move along. I've got a couple of things I'm going to have to skip or I won't get to this. "Resting on the Promises," this is the last section, Thursday. And I want to point to 1 Samuel 1:17-18. You remember the story where Hannah, she doesn't have a son. She's barren. Peninnah has got a lot of children. Peninnah's persecuting or harassing Hannah and making her life miserable.

Hannah goes to the temple. She's weeping, she's not eating. She goes to the temple, she prays, and she makes a promise to God: "Lord, if You will give me a son, I will dedicate that son to You. He'll be a Nazarite, no razor will come upon his head. Please have mercy on me. Give me a child. Not for me, because I'll give him back to You, but just so I'll know that You've not forsaken me and that You're still with me."

And so Eli sees her lips moving. He has no idea what she's praying. First, he thinks she's drunk. She says, "I'm not drunk. I'm just praying." He says, "Oh, okay, I didn't understand." Now listen to what Eli says. "He answers and says, 'Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant you your petition which you have asked of Him.' And she said, 'Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.'" Very similar to what Mary said to the angel. "So the woman went her way," and notice, it says, "She ate and she drank, and her face was no longer sad." Was she pregnant yet? As far as we know she and Elkanah had not even gone home yet.

Why is she happy? She has faith that God has spoken through the high priest and God has heard her prayer. So what happens as a result of her faith? Does she get pregnant? Does she have a son? She keeps her promise and God gives her five more kids. Be careful what you pray for, amen? So automatically, she feels differently and what she's prayed for, because she believes, even the priest who speaks doesn't even know he's speaking it. But because she believes the Word of God, God honors and blesses her. She resting on the promise.

Some of you remember the story in the Bible where Nathan the prophet told David, this is 1 Chronicles 22, verse 9: "Behold, a son will be born to you, who will be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all of his enemies all around. His name will be Solomon, for I will give him peace," Solomon is similar to shalom. "I will give him peace and quietness to Israel for his days. He will build a house for My name, and he will be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever."

All right, so what does David do as soon as he hears that promise? He begins to assemble materials, to amass materials, to build the temple because he believes the promise of God, the temple's going to be built by the son. Does it happen? Does Solomon build the temple? He does. So David has the promise and he acts upon the promise. I wonder how many times in life we have missed miracles because we don't step out in faith and believe. And if you look back over your life, how many times can you see that because you believed in something and you went towards it, it happened? It's not that we performed self-fulfilling prophecies but I think faith plays a lot bigger role in our lives than sometimes we give it credit for.

We are out of time, but we made it through most of the lesson. I want to remind those who are watching, if you missed at the beginning, we have a free offer. It's called "God Drew the Plans." We'll send this to you by simply asking. Call 866-788-3966, that's 866-Study-More. Ask for offer number 129 and after you read it, share it with a friend. Well, thank you for studying the Word of God with us today, friends. And we're looking forward to our last lesson on the covenants next week, and then we'll enter a new quarter. God bless you.

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Male: I grew up in a church-going family. I mean, we were at every meeting. I sang in four of the choirs there, I directed three. Very involved, very active. It almost seemed like busy work sometimes, you know? I went to Sunday school, I knew about God, I knew about Jesus. But I didn't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

My senior year in high school I got the news that my father had been murdered. Now, I played it off well. No one really saw that I was struggling with it. It just really felt like there was a hole that needed to be filled and I tried to fill it with drugs, with alcohol, with partying. After college, I just stopped going to church altogether.

One day, on a Sunday, because I didn't feel like going to church with my mom, I thought, you know, "I should get a little bit of Word." She had the satellite system hooked up and I'm flipping through channels. And then the logo pops across, "Amazing Facts Presents." I've listened to a lot of different ministers but this was the first time that he's actually saying something where I had to grab my Bible and actually pick it up and I've never heard this before. Let me look through and find this.

I went through all the Storacles, I went through all the study guides and I just couldn't get enough. And then the Sabbath came up and he's going through the appeal and I'm just going, "Lord, I hear You. I have to go to church." So I show up. It was funny, I didn't feel like I was going to be judged, anything judgmental, anything. And I walked in the door, and I just felt at home.

But there's still a problem. I'm still partying. I was still going out to the bars. At this time, I was selling cocaine to pay my rent. Sixteen days later, I find myself in a life or death situation. I had just came back from a liquor store and I grabbed a bottle of vodka. And there I am, high off cocaine, with my Bible in hand, trying to do a Bible study. And I heard an audible voice, "Just look at yourself." And I did, and I was, like, "What am I doing?" And I got on my knees and I said, "Lord, if You do not take this away from me now, I'm going to kill myself." I was going to continue this lifestyle and I was going to end up overdosing, having a heart attack, whatever it was. "You have to take this away, all of it." And that day, He lift it all up and away from me. It was all gone. When God does something in your life, He does it complete.

Announcer: "Amazing Facts" changed lives.

Female: Well, my conversion story is when I was in the Philippines, I just graduated as a nurse and afterwards I did not have any religion and one time I found myself inside a small church, Catholic church, in Manila, and before a big cross. And I was kneeling before and I could hear Jesus telling me to enter the convent, save myself and also my family. And I said, "Lord, I would like to follow You all the way."

At that point, I seemed to be happy externally, but because inside the convent we don't read the Bible, we don't study about the Word of God. We prayed the rosaries, we also at the same time studied the lives of the saints and also our founders, and the encyclicals of the Pope and the Virgin Mary. And so I do not know the truth and I had this torture of conscience, the guilty feelings that cannot be resolved. So I would confess to the priest in the confessional box, saying, "Father, forgive me, since my last confession was last week. Since then I have committed the following sin," including the root cause. Why am I falling and falling in that same sin over and over again? And still for 21 long years, I struggle and I struggle and I struggle. I realized that I was totally empty, I was totally helpless and hopeless. And so depressed and so desperate that I would like already to end my life.

I was working for five years as dean of the University of San Agustin College of Nursing in Iloilo City, one of the islands in the Philippines. After five years I received a commission from my parents to help my sister who is being a battered woman. This is one of the reasons why I came over to United States. It is because my sister needs my help.

As I was working in the hospital in New York, my boss-- he was so gracious enough to give me an invitation to the Millennium Prophecy. As I was listening to Pastor Doug Batchelor's presentation, my heart really was beating so fast, and my mind, I'm able to grasp the truth, that this is the truth that I've been longing to hear all my life, that I have been seeking for so long. My personal relationship with Jesus, I can see Jesus as my personal Savior. He is not only the Savior of the whole world but He is my personal Savior. He was the one who delivered me mightily from the depths of sin, from the mighty clay.

Pastor Doug Batchelor has been used by the Lord in my conversion. The Amazing Facts, I owe to them. The Lord really blessed this ministry and I'm so proud I was able to attend this Millennium Prophecy. My life has never been the same. It has given me the peace, the joy, that never--I have never tasted in my life, and now I am set free to be able to work for Him and to follow Him.

Announcer: "Amazing Facts" changed lives.

Male: I met my ex-wife, and her family were real big into drugs. And it started out with them wanting me to go to the doctor to help get them drugs. And you know, I'm noticing they're going to the doctor, they're coming back with like 60 pills, and they're selling these pills for like 1,000 bucks. And I'm thinking, "Wow, this is a lot of money I'm giving these people, so I'm just going to start selling it myself." My problem with that was that we had all this money, but we was absolutely miserable. She would go out and sleep with other guys to get drugs, and that ended my marriage.

But during this time, I have to get a job to build back up to where I was at, to open my shop again, so I get a job at Food City. And when I get this job at Food City, there's my wife now, Rebecca. She's a cashier there. And when I walk in, she's the most beautiful girl I've ever seen in my life. I was like, "Man, I could never have a girl like that. Wow, she's so beautiful." But as I'm working with her, she's actually kind of mean to me, and she's saying, "I don't want anything to do with you. Get away from me," stuff like that. But you know, I just keep being nice to her and keep trying to give her my phone number.

And it's around Christmas Eve, we'd just been dating for a little while, moved in together, my ex-wife shows up with my three children that I had by her. And she's like, "Here's your kids. Here's their birth certificates. Here's their social security cards. I'm done." And we were starting a family, we already have three kids.

During this time, we spent the next year watching nothing but "Amazing Facts" on YouTube. I didn't even know they even had a website at this time. I just knew that this little guy on YouTube was super smart, was teaching Bible, and I wanted to follow him. I wanted to be a Christian. I gave my life to God now because of these truths that I'm learning from Doug Bachelor.

Just because Doug taught it didn't make me real sure about going to this church. I really didn't want anything to do with it. But I called the guy up and I'm telling him, and I'm not very nice about it actually. I'm telling him, "Look, we was thinkin' about coming into your church," and he's really nice. He's like, "Well, you're more than welcome to. We'd like to have you come." And I'm like, "Well, hold on. I'm going to lay down some ground rules." I'm tellin' him, I said, "Look here, I'm covered in tattoos and I'm a tattoo artist," and he don't say, "Well, you know, wow. I didn't know all that. Don't come to my church." He says, "You're more than welcome. We would love to have you. Please come."

He asked me what I want to do and I said, "Well, I want to preach." I said, "I have all these truths. I have all this knowledge, stuff I've never known before, stuff if I'd've had when I was younger that would've been life-changing to me," I said, "I got to share this with the world." I said, "I want to preach. I want to teach." He gives me the book, says, "Study that."

Well, now that I'm a Bible worker, I'm able to go reach people that most of the normal churches wouldn't even bother to even speak to. I'm able to go out and reach the people who have lived the life that I've lived. I'm able to let them know that I am like you. I've been there. I've done that. I want to show you what my life is like now. I'm want to teach you this Bible. I want to show you what Jesus can do for you. It's not too late.

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